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Enjoying the Water

Enjoying the Water

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Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2016 12:00 am

It’s been called the gem of Lodi for a reason. Lodi Lake is a man-made watering hole diverted off of the Mokelumne River, surrounded by mature oak and willow trees, tule reeds and blackberry brambles. While the river flows on over the Woodbridge Dam and out to the San Joaquin Delta, there is plenty of water left for splashing, swimming and watersports.

Dan Arbuckle, owner of Headwaters Kayak Shop (847 N. Cluff Ave., Lodi; (209) 224-8367), is happy to provide visitors with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) and pedalboats through the Boathouse, located on Turner Road in Lodi Lake Park.

“A lot of people are realizing what a good resource the boathouse is. You don’t have to own equipment, you can just come down and get a high-quality rental,” he said. “I’m excited to get people on the water.”

The biggest advancement ahead of this summer is online reservations. Prospective kayakers can go online to www.headwaterskayak.com, select their craft and rental period, then pay online before ever catching sight of the lake.

For those who decide to rent kayaks on a whim, Arbuckle keeps several in reserve. This year, they’ve added 10 more kayaks to the fleet and doubled their stock of paddle boards. They even rent out a monster-sized paddle board called the “Sup Squatch,” which can hold up to six adults.

A wide range of tours are offered on the water.

Peddle, Paddle, Pizza is a three-part evening outing. Visitors meet at Downtown Bicycles (9 N. School St., Lodi; (209) 224-8504) to rent bicycles, then ride out to the Boathouse at the lake. Then, they hop on kayaks and do an out and back paddle to Woodbridge Dam. Once back on their bikes, the group pedals through the nature trail then back to Downtown Lodi for a pizza dinner at Smack Pie Pizza (121 S. School St., Lodi; (209) 224-8061). The $35 tour runs at a leisurely pace and paints an ideal picture of an active Lodi evening. Reservations can be made through Downtown Bicycles.

The Boathouse has also partnered with Sip Shuttle, a wine tasting shuttle service, for a Water to Wine tour. The full day event begins at 9:30 a.m. with a guided tour up the river. Then, after a picnic by the lakeside, Sip Shuttle will take the group on a tour of Lodi wineries. The cost is $75 with lunch or $60 to bring a lunch, and can be reserved through www.sipshuttle.com.

Kayakers can join critter and plant expert Bill Beckett for guided wildlife tours on the water, or come out on Wednesday evenings for social paddles. Special moonlit tours are set for the full moon each month throughout the summertime.

Introductory classes for kayak, SUP and SUP yoga are also scheduled weekly.

Arbuckle has seen growth in the number of young families interested in kayaking as a sport.

“Maybe they tried it on vacation and are looking to get into it,” he said. “Last week, a family came out with a 9-year-old. It was his first time and he went in a single kayak. They got about half a mile upriver to a sandbar, got out and played for a while, then paddled back.”

Season passes ($250) are available for people planning to come out and paddle often. These are good for unlimited rentals from May to September.

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