Inaugural regatta and poker run slated for lagoon

CARLSBAD – It took months and months of work for Jim Strickland, Board member of the AHLF (Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation) and other members to get the necessary permits to launch the inaugural Regatta and Poker Ride at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Now, with all of the permits secured, Strickland hopes the event will become a recurring, signature event not only for Carlsbad but throughout North County. The Agua Hedionda Lagoon is like no other, Strickland said. “It has all these different uses. This is a great example where people and nature can get along together…It’s a wonderful place; I love it,” he added. The idea for a poker run in the lagoon came after a serendipitous meeting with a Hobie Kayak Company representative who wanted to help support the lagoon. Strickland, a motorcycle rider, noted that motorcyclists had poker runs and thought that a poker run on the lagoon, with paddle boards and kayaks, would be just perfect. Part of the fun of paddle boarding and kayaking is that it’s the leisurely thing to do and the mellow, enjoyable thing to do, Strickland said. “It’s not a race, so you just go to each stop and get a card, and the winner gets the prize.” Grand prizes include a Hobie Kayak and a custom made standup board created by Scott Chandler of Chandler Surf. There will also be prizes for the best Halloween costume contest, which will be fun and give people a chance to tune up their costumes in time for Halloween, Strickland said. “The Lagoon Foundation is the watch out for the lagoon. And one of the important things we do is teach people about the environmental stuff,” Strickland said. The lagoon is a healthy lagoon, he added. “There’s lots of wildlife and birds, herons eating fish out of the lagoon.” The Lagoon Foundation has also played a part in eradicating the killer algae that was discovered in the lagoon about 10 to 12 years ago, he said. But one of the biggest issues affecting the lagoon is storm water. “Storm water issues are a problem,” he said. “Overall, the health is good. People are wakeboarding; skiing…people are in the water every day.” All of the money raised from the event will go to the operating funds of the foundation’s Discovery Center and educational programs. The AHLF is a nonprofit organization that was developed in 1990 to help preserve, restore and enhance the lagoon through land acquisition and educational outreach programs. “We are the stewards of the lagoon,” Strickland said. The event is Oct. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sign up and donation is $30 for AHLF members, $35 for prospective members and $40 after Oct. 16. Registration is available on the day of the event. For more information on the event or the foundation, visit aguahediondia.org, or call (760) 804-1969.

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