It’s Off To The Races At The 2016 Once Around Belle Isle Race - Opportunity Detroit Blog

It’s Off to the Races at the 2016 Once Around Belle Isle Race

On your mark, get set, go!

We’re off to the races at the Once Around Belle Isle race (OABI), featuring a jam-packed day full of food, music, and sportsmanship.

Known as the Midwest paddle destination, OABI is a 7-mile race including paddleboards, kayaks, and surfskis that (you guessed it) races around Belle Isle to complete for a chance to win. The entire day is devoted to summer time fun, consisting of three categories: Beach Fest, Paddlerama, and Race.

Gear up for the annual Once Around Belle Isle race by checking out our inside scoop on everything you need to know before the event, including dates, times, locations, and information on how to enter the race.

Opportunity Detroit OABI Race

And they’re off!

What started as a casual meet-up of a few paddle enthusiasts has grown into an event that combines the experience of experts and the determination of beginners.

The race takes place in the natural and non-buoyed Belle Isle course on the Detroit River, starting at 1 Riverbank Drive and entering through the beach.

This year, participants are able to enter the 7-mile or 2.5 mile race. The award ceremony will take place on the main event stage. The Black Blades, the infamous OABI trophies, will be awarded to the winners of the Men’s and Women’s Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP), Men’s and Women’s Kayak, and Men’s and Women’s Surfski. Participation medals are awarded to those who finish the race.

Ticket purchase includes an exclusive racer tee, racer gift bag, entry into the Marley Beverage Hospitality Lounge with snacks and drinks for participants, and Beach Party access.

To register for the 7 or 2.5-mile race, go to the OABI website and select your race. Both cost $50 in advance or $75 the day of, however OABI recommends that you register in advance to assure your place in the event.


If you’re new to paddle boarding and want to pick up a few tricks, Moosejaw Paddlerama offers beginner-friendly classes on the beach from noon – 4:45 p.m.

As a participant, you’ll be able to attend two 45-minute classes, including intro to SUP, Paddle Technique, SUP Yoga, Canal Tours, Intro to Kayak, Kayak Forward Stroke, and Syphus Training. You’ll also have access to the Beach Party and Vendor Village.

For an exciting afternoon of classes, demos, and games, tickets cost $40 in advance or $50 the day of.

Beach Party

Grab your sunscreen and flip-flops: the OABI Beach Party is sure to be one for the books. Soak up the last few rays of summer while enjoying craft beers, cocktails and food truck fare on Belle Isle Beach.

Stop by the New Belgium Beer Garden, a hot spot for the coolest brews around town. New Belgium is prepared to provide a large selection of craft beers that’ll keep you chilled during the hot, summer day.

Check out the diverse lineup of food trucks putting it in park on the beach: Cheese Street, Detroit BBQ Company, Drifter Coffee, and El Charro.

Located along the Detroit River, the Beach Party features Eastside Jon, a live DJ sure to get the party started. Get ready to jam to great tunes while enjoying games on the beach.

Don’t forget to browse through lifestyle clothing vendors at the OABI Vendor Village. Providing the latest in paddle gear, fitness apparel, and art, the vendors include: Moosejaw, Syphus Training, Detroit Bikes, and many more!

Stick around after the OABI race concludes: staring at 4:00 p.m., a concert event begins with The Ragbirds opening the show. Following is Lee Fields and The Expressions and closing the show is DJ Eastside Jon.

We advise you to buy your tickets to the Beach Party in advance. The cost is $15 dollars if you order today; $25 to purchase the day of.

And the Winner Is…

At the end of the day: everyone’s a winner when they come to Detroit for a weekend of outdoor fun. OABI is a great initiative for physical fitness and a fun opportunity to experience the most unique destination in Detroit. Better yet, the race benefits The Belle Isle Conservancy, dedicated to protecting, preserving, and restoring Belle Isle Park.

For a complete schedule of events, checkout the OABI website for full details and be sure to follow OABI on Facebook for any updates on the race. Also check out the OABI Twitter and Instagram for some sweet pics!

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