La Crosse Paddling Club

La Crosse Paddling Club with Lori Hammes
An Interview 

How long has LPC been around, how did it start?
LPC was formed in 2018 by a group of outdoor enthusiasts who value the numerous benefits of paddling, including exercise, friendship and a deep connection and sense of community that is established by bringing people together with similar interests. 

Tell us about a project or accomplishment with LPC that you consider to be the most significant?
A significant project that LPC took on was the development of our website in 2019. This was a necessary project for us because it made it easier for us to communicate and reach considerably more people who may have an interest in paddling, whether they’re just starting or want specific and advanced training with a certified instructor.  We built the website to also make it easier for participants and members to register for upcoming events and receive updates, directions, and materials for scheduled activities.

What would you tell people, who otherwise know nothing about paddling, how LPC can help influence their lives?
Many members of LPC are relatively new to paddling and were first introduced to the activity less than seven years ago through dragon boating. Others in the club have been paddling kayak and canoe for 30+ years and are incredibly experienced. They bring a wealth of knowledge and freely share with anyone who has a desire to learn. They provide valuable education on water safety, paddling technique, equipment, and the lay of the land when it comes to paddling on different bodies of water.  We come from all walks of life and bring different life experiences; however, what we have in common is our interest in paddling, a desire to meet new people and a deeper sense of community because of our connection to each other and the beautiful surroundings of the Coulee Region. 

What many people don’t realize is that the paddle stroke for canoe, Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) and dragon boat is very similar.  Learning one of these disciplines allows a person to more confidently paddle other types of watercraft which provides variety and an extra dose of fun!! Each of these activities offers a different experience and challenge, as does learning how to kayak.  LPC can introduce any of these types of activities to someone who is just learning to paddle for fun and recreation or to someone who is seeking specific instruction and training for competition.

Can anyone join the LPC & how?
Membership to LPC is open to anyone 11 years of age or older and is very affordable for individuals and families.  We are revamping our membership types and costs to accommodate a variety of needs and interests.

What is a boat or paddling skill someone should first learn and why?
The most important paddling skill anyone can learn when first learning to paddle is safety.  This includes always wearing a personal floatation device (PFD), carrying the essentials, knowing your limits, dressing for immersion, learning the basics of rescue and never paddling alone.

What does a perfect paddling day look like to you?
The perfect paddling day includes sunshine, friends and lots of laughter! There’s nothing better than getting a group of people together for a morning, afternoon or even a full day of enjoyment on one of the many beautiful waterways in our area and then ending our time together with more laughter over a good meal and beverage!

If you were to tell a friend to come and visit the Driftless Area, and they ask “Why” … what would  you tell them?
If you love the outdoors and want to see Mother Nature’s very best canvas, you absolutely must visit the Driftless Area! You’ll be up-close-and-personal with eagles, osprey, swans, pelicans and other wildlife and surrounded by bountiful flora and bluffs. When you visit the Driftless Area, you’ll ignite all of your senses and never want to leave.