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  • Writer's pictureGig Harbor Living Local

There’s Excitement in the Air and on the Water!

Paddlers Cup Makes its Return this spring By Jillian Chandler | Photo by Cathy Kasperbauer

paddlers cup gig harbor

The ninth annual Paddlers cup had been scheduled for 2020, and postponed until later in the year, but eventually canceled. As hopes were high to be able to host the event in 2021, it was ultimately decided that it would be in the best interest of both participants and spectators to postpone the event.

But … it’s time to celebrate! As the ninth annual Paddlers Cup makes its way to the harbor April 23 and 24, 2022!

“Paddlers Cup is GHCKRT’s gift to our Gig Harbor. It’s a great community weekend showcasing paddling in many forms,” smiles Kathleen North, Gig Harbor Canoe & Kayak Racing Team board member. “Saturday features canoe, kayak and SUP. On Sunday we partner with the Gig Harbor Dragons (PenMet Parks Dragon Boat Team). The Dragons provide training to 12 community teams in the morning, and the teams race in the afternoon.”

The best spots to view the action on land will be from Skansie Brothers Park and Jerisich Dock. For those interested in taking in the races from the water, Destiny Harbor Tours boat and The Gig Harbor Gondola will be out on Saturday. “The finish line both days is right in front of Skansie Park,” says Kathleen.

When it comes to what Kathleen is most looking forward to the return of the Paddlers Cup, she shares:

1. Talent spotting. The last time we held Paddlers Cup, girls from our local club dominated the canoe division and stood on podium at the end of the event. That was 2019. Since then, four of them have gone on to stand on podiums in international competition, including a gold medal at the Summer Olympics. Who will be next?

2. Comradery and competence. No experience is required to be on a dragon boat team. Each boat has 20 paddlers, and it’s incredible to see how the groups come together and improve over the course of the day. On land, in the morning, there is a lot of nervous laughter. By afternoon, there is much back slapping and raucous laughter. You can see the change on the water too: The teams often start out looking like caterpillars, with paddles moving in waves. They end the day with a much more efficient “all together now” stroke.

3. Being in the park. We’ve got some great food vendors, clothing vendors and paddling gear vendors that will be with us that weekend. Emcee Louise Teiman does an exceptional job calling the action, and sound guy John Martinson will be back with a playlist that has been known to prompt people to dance between races.

Paddlers Cup is a fundraiser for the Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team (GHCKRT). Proceeds from Paddlers Cup will go to purchase much-needed safety equipment. Show your support to the team by showing up and buying a T-shirt or some raffle tickets.

To find out more about the Paddlers Cup, view the list of sponsors, register to become a sponsor or participant for the 2022 event, and view the safety rules and latest COVID protocols, visit For those interested in showcasing their business during the two-day event, you can sign up to be a vendor online as well.

“Dragon boats and park vendors could fill up at any time,” Kathleen confirms. “Canoe, kayak and SUP can register up to the day of the event. But you will want to do it sooner if you want the event T-shirt. And you want the shirt. It’s a dri-fit with a great logo created just for this event by Jessica Rogg of Custom Prints NW.”

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