First Annual Spirit Lake Cardboard Boat Regatta


First-time events can go either way. Fortunately the inaugural cardboard boat regatta at Spirit Lake was a real winner this weekend. It was held at Fireside Park, which offers accessible parking and restrooms; and I was pleased to see several wheelchair-users there. Plus, since the park is fairly flat, it’s easy to roll over to the shore to get a better view of all the action.

The Winner — Frog Spit

There were two classes of cardboard boats. One class could only use five rolls of duct tape and a couple pieces of cardboard to construct the boat, while the other class had no quantity limit. There were a variety of entries – some were quite basic while others had a definite theme. And amazingly enough, they all floated; albeit some stayed afloat longer than others.

The rules were pretty simple. There were several two-boat heats, where competitors had to run to their boats, get them into the water, paddle out to the middle of the lake around the rubber duck, then head back to the starting point. And it was all timed.

To say it was entertaining is an understatement.

Tick Tock Croc

Some folks, like the Frog Spit team (the winners) were experienced paddlers; while others – like the teens that swam the course dragging their sinking ship — were a little green. My favorite was the Ugly Duckling, which came in third. And then there was the very creative Tick Tock Croc, which because of its height, was a real challenge for the young team to maneuver.

Of course there was also an award for the best sinking – The Titanic Award. That went to two portly gentlemen who could not for the life of them stay afloat in their Viking-style ship. I had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

My Favorite — The Ugly Duckling

All in all it was a fun and inclusive day. I’m sure this popular event will return next year, so if you’re around Spirit Lake, Idaho, put it on your calendar. I’ll be there for sure. Consult the Spirit Lake Chamber of Commerce website for further details (