You may have recently noticed the large influx of kayaks and stand-up paddle boards paddling past the tritoons, speedboats, and motorboats of the lake.

Take note, it is quickly becoming one of the hottest trends at the Lake of the Ozarks and under the full moon of June 10, the Lake of the Ozarks Watershed Alliance, Inc. (LOWA) held the inaugural Osage Howler Paddle Race along 61 miles of the Osage River.

Nearly 70 paddlers from all around the Midwest traveled to the Lake of the Ozarks to paddle the race and assist in raising funds for LOWA.

Racers chose a paddle of 61 miles or 14 miles and paddled through the night.

“The race was a great success, seeing 70 paddlers push themselves physically in support of LOWA, and the lake is truly inspiring,” said Amanda LaPorte, race director.

“The lake and surrounding area is a beautiful resource for all of us to enjoy. Without it [the lake] we have no economy, no property value, no businesses, but with it, we have one of the largest and best playgrounds in the country as our backyard. Seeing so many people enjoying that playground means seeing people support our lake community.”

Paddlers included kayaks, canoeists, stand-up paddle boards, hobies, and a man-made elliptical tandem kayak. The winner of the race was Brad Daniels with a time of 6 hours and 52 minutes and an average speed of 8.9 mph.

Paddle enthusiasts said it was one of the best races they have experienced in a long time while LOWA Executive Director Donna Swall said, “We couldn’t have asked for better weather, or a better current to give the racers that slight extra push.”

Many racers looked to the Osage Howler as a training grounds routine for the upcoming MR340, and used the opportunity of a night race to check equipment, stamina, endurance, and overall readiness.

All paddlers received a T-shirt which is available on LOWA’s website, www.lowatershed.org, as well as the extreme 61-mile racers were presented with a unique howling wolf medal, The Howler Wolf.

LOWA had such a good response to the Osage Howler, they are currently planning a fall race and paddle for fun event that will highlight the Niangua arm of the lake and possibly another trip down the Osage River.

In addition, LOWA hosts a free kayak meet-up, where you can try out the sport of kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding even if you own no equipment. The meet-ups are held every second Saturday, May thru September. LOWA also offers memberships to citizens, as well as businesses who wish to support the lake.

LOWA is a citizen-based volunteer non-profit watershed alliance, working to ensure the lake stays healthy. The mission of LOWA — “Citizens will PRESERVE, PROTECT, and IMPROVE the Lake of the Ozarks, its watershed and its natural resources, while maintaining our economic, social, and environmental health” — gives stakeholders a chance to protect and preserve their investments at the lake and keeping it the best playground of the Midwest for generations to come.

For more information about LOWA, please visit www.LOWATERSHED.org or call (573) 723-0637.