Inaugural Charleston Watersports Week

Here's a sample of nearly 50 watersport activities for the coming Charleston Watersports Week.

Friday-Sept. 14

Afternoon, sunset and moonlight cruises aboard the Schooner Pride, Charleston Maritime Center.

Seaside photography tours, various locations.

Saturday

Cooper River Challenge Fishing Tournament, Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.

Full moon kayak tour, Bowen's Island.

Sunday- Monday

Super full moon stand-up paddleboard trip, Folly Beach.

Super full moon paddling trip, Shem Creek/Crab Bank

Sept. 12-14

Charleston Watersports Week Expo, Charleston Maritime Center

Sept. 13

Second annual Chucktown Showdown SUP races, Brittlebank Park/Ashley River

Third annual Carolina Celebration Cup dragon boat races, Trophy Lakes on Johns Island.

For a complete listing, go to

http://watersportsweek.com/watersports_week_event_schedule.html.

Charleston has a fashion week, a race week, a pride week and coming up later this week, the Charleston Restaurant Week and Charleston Beer Week.

Overlapping both will be an inaugural "week," actually 10 days, celebrating and promoting another one of its assets - water sports - starting Friday and ending Sept. 14.

Charleston Watersports Week, created by the Charleston Area Sports Commission, will feature an array of competitive, recreational, instructive and leisurely activities on the water. The nearly 50 activities range from stand-up paddleboarding and dragon boat races to kayak and sunset sailing excursions.

A three-day expo, "splashed off" with a Happy Hour on the Harbor and continuing with on-water demonstrations, is set for Sept. 12-14 at the Charleston Maritime Center.

The commission is working with the organizers of the restaurant and beer weeks along with other local businesses to give it the biggest economic punch possible. Restaurant week is Wednesday through Sept. 14, while beer week is Sept. 7-14.

"The primary goal is to provide an active getaway vacation for watersports enthusiasts and leisure travelers, just after the summer's peak tourism season," said Kathleen Cartland, the sports commission executive director.

Commission Advisory Board Chairman Tom O'Rourke said the task of the organization is to create sports events that will bring people from outside of the area to the Charleston area. Water sports are "low hanging fruit," he said.

"Some people think that the traditional sports, (such as) baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, encompass all sports, but running, walking, paddling, and water activities are 'sports.' Our goal is to highlight the resources that Charleston has for the benefit of the tourism community," said O'Rourke, executive director of the Charleston Park and Recreation Commission.

"The good news is that when we do these things, it avails our local public in participating in these great activities without needing to travel."

O'Rourke says watersports week is the commission's first step in creating more events to benefit the entire community.

John Keener, owner and operator of Charleston Crab House and Watersports Week chairman, said the area is surrounded by water and sporting enthusiasts alike, "so it was natural" for the commission to host a watersports week.

"I believe it will become a major event for locals and visitors in years to come in the Lowcountry area," said Keener.

Reach David Quick at 937-5516.