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SUP3Rivers SouthSide festival floats idea of stand-up paddleboarding

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop
| Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2015, 9:00 p.m.
Stand-up paddle boarders participate in an event with SUP3Rivers on the Allegheny River, Downtown.
Stand-up paddle boarders participate in an event with SUP3Rivers on the Allegheny River, Downtown.

With summer quickly fading, here's a chance to spend time on the river before we head into fall.

The SUP3Rivers SouthSide Outside Paddle & Music Festival is Sept. 5. The daylong event starts at 8 a.m. with a 10K Paddle Challenge for kayakers and those on stand-up paddleboards.

The course begins at the SouthSide Riverfront Park. From there, participants head to Point State Park, then circle back to where they started. There will also be a half-mile novice event for stand-up paddle boarders during the Hot Metal Family Fun Splash from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Riverfront Park.

The event is hosted by SUP3Rivers, an urban stand-up paddle boarding company based on the South Side. It offers a chance to learn the growing sport. A portion of the proceeds and donations will go to Friends of the Riverfront and Baily's Benefit for the National Cancer Canine Foundation.

Founded almost four years ago, SUP3Rivers is owned by Matthew Rumbaugh and Connie Bradley. The pair started with three boards and now have 18, a boat and a three-year contract with Citiparks to host other events.

Rumbaugh says he hopes the Paddle & Music Festival will become an annual happening.

Jim Griffin, director of parks and recreation for Citiparks, says he hopes to bring people from recreation centers and senior centers to learn paddleboarding.

“Matthew has been a great partner and an advocate for paddleboarding and water safety, so we are happy to have him come to our parks and experience them,” Griffin says.

This is a great time of year for this event, Griffin says, as people enjoy the Labor Day weekend and look to relax. He says paddleboarding is a sport that a wide range of ages can do.

The event will be part family fun, part sport — with some trail-based competition highlighting the Three Rivers Heritage Trail and Three Rivers Water Trail.

There also will be an instructor from Fitness on Board out of Florida for those who want to be certified in teaching paddleboarding.

“We are so fortunate to have these three rivers that we should utilize them,” Rumbaugh says. “We also need to respect them and to be educated about going out on the river so that we are safe.”

He says the oldest person (so far) to go on the stand-up paddleboard was 78 years old and the youngest was 10.

“This is a perfect way to showcase how beautiful our city is and to experience being out on the river, Rumbaugh says. “It's an amazing feeling. SUP is exploding everywhere, and we wanted an area in the city where people can do it. The premise of the festival is to showcase our rivers and our trails and make it a summer-ending festival.”

Details: 412-425-7676 or or

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at or 412-320-7889.

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