PINE BEACH – The world record for the most kayaks on the water in one place is 329.
Correction. The record was 329.
That record was quite easily shattered when hundreds of people launched into the Toms River on an early Saturday morning. This was the kind of shore traffic you want to see. Families and friends making their way at their own speed on the water. Like cars on the road, they stayed to the right, so that they weren’t facing others head-on during the return journey.
They took off from several different locations. That’s one of the best things about a kayak is that you can enter the water from any shore. But in order to count, they had to paddle between two markers in the river.
They were given numbers for their kayaks, and they were counted as they passed a pier. Sandy Rinderer, who organized the event, said that they ran out of numbers because so many people came. Some of the participants gave their numbers back so the organizers could flip the number over and write a new number on the back. They estimate it was around 1,250 people.
Accuracy is important for world records, so it took some time to weed through it and make sure that the number was correct. Just because a number was handed out doesn’t mean that they were on the water. Also, not all of them got numbers. She noted that Tony from New York got there after the tally but he was the final finisher.
“It was all I envisioned,” Rinderer said.
She does a lot of triathalons. A recent one in Point Pleasant had biking, running, and kayaking. She thought all the kayaks together looked cool and wondered if it could be pulled off in her neighborhood. It didn’t have to be competitive, just people out for a good time.
In order to make sure people did more than just sign up, they had to have some skin in the game. A $10 fee was attached because people are more likely to go to something that they already paid for. All the money was collected for Save Barnegat Bay, an environmental advocacy and education group.
Britta Forsberg, executive director of Save Barnegat Bay, said it was a fantastic idea.
“Not only does it help people get engaged, but it shows the love for the river and our bay,” she said. “This provided education and awareness that what we do when we live near the water impacts its health.”
It’s a fun way to celebrate the environment.
“Everyone who lives here has some kind of water-loving equipment in their home,” she said. Whether it’s a boat or a kayak, they enjoy the water all year round. This was a day for them to all celebrate it together.
Ocean Running Club members helped with registration, Rinderer said. The Berkeley Township Underwater Search and Rescue was on hand as well as other emergency crews and police to make sure everything was safe. There were no incidents reported.
There were at least a dozen dogs in the kayaks. One man played his bagpipes in a kayak.
“I know all the people here own kayaks,” she said. “Why can’t we all have fun on the water?”
Although, not all of them lived around here. Alexandra and Don Draper came down from Westchester to take part. They have a boat in the area
“We kayak near us, but this will be the first time we kayaked here,” Alexandra said. “It’ll be fun and it’s the perfect day for it.”
She was right about that. Given the fact that there have been heat waves, people were glad that the temperature was nice for a summer day. The wind and the water were still, which made it ideal conditions.
Michele Beltram is a physical therapist who lives nearby. She encouraged activities like this.
“It’s a fun way to get some exercise with friends,” she said.