Vogalonga June 2017- What a way to see Venice!
The Vogalonga is a 30km paddling/rowing race through the city of Venice and the lagoon up to Burano. The event was first created 42 years ago as a response to the overuse of powerboats in the city and the subsequent damage that the wake of these boats was doing to the buildings.
Almost all rowed or paddled boats can participate, and there’s even a separate category for kayaks. There are usually well over one thousands boats in the race, of many types.
This year on June 4th The Hobie Team from 4 different countries went to join in with the event. We took 8 Hobie Oasis Kayaks and 3 Hobie Mirage Eclipses. The atmosphere of the event was amazing with 1000 boats from many different countries all dressed in team costumes with many singing and chanting their way en route. There were many different styles of paddling from those standing and doing the venetian gondolier style rowing to teams in grass skirts on Polynesian kayaks with outriggers and a very distinguished gentleman on a canoe with a bow tie and bowler hat. Through the middle of it all, the team of Hobie Kayakers caused quite a stir. So many people were pointing and staring at the Hobies, it felt like we were celebrities. When we changed craft later in the race to travel down the Grand Canal on a Hobie Eclipse the atmosphere was buzzing. Crowds had gathered on every bridge and all the balconies were groaning with spectators. The crowds were cheering for the 1000 boats that had participated and as we passes they were calling out to ask questions about the Hobie Eclipse. We were being filmed and photographed from every angle.
We paddled our Hobie Kayaks and Hobie Mirage Eclipses around Venice for 30 km or 20 miles with no breaks. The whole trip took us 5 hours and at the end of it all the Hobie Team were a little tired but not too bad considering the distance we had travelled. The experience of seeing the beautiful city of Venice from the water made Vogalonga one of the best experiences of my life. I will definitely be back for the 44th Vogalonga in 2018.