OABI Returns to Detroit River on August 13




Detroit, Michigan (June 27, 2016) OABI (Once Around Belle Isle) returns to Belle Isle Beach on Saturday, August 13, 2016. Tickets are now on sale.

Now in its third year being produced by Grand Circus Media & Green Veil Outdoor, OABI is an event that offers a world-class paddle sports race, beginner friendly paddlerama, a vendor village, local food trucks, craft beer and live music on stage.

The Opportunity Detroit OABI race is a 7-mile paddle race for standup paddleboards, kayaks, and surfskis around Belle Isle.  This year, racers will be able to enjoy refreshments and relax inside the exclusive Racers Lounge, sponsored by Marley Beverage Co.  The men’s and women’s SUP winners will each receive a Detroit-manufactured bike courtesy of Detroit Bikes.

“OABI is such a unique event because it blends Detroit City culture, beach lifestyle culture, and waterman culture all in an incredible setting.  With the food trucks, craft brews, incredible bands and vendor village, OABI offers something really special to SUP racers, casual paddlers and the general public,” said Matt Lennert, OABI race director.

For less experienced paddlers not ready to brave the challenging course, Moosejaw Paddlerama offers beginner-friendly paddle classes, demos, and games on the beach.

The beach party promises an equally entertaining day on dry land.  With New Belgium returning as the sole beer sponsor, partiers can expect a diverse lineup of New Belgium brews, hand selected to complement a sunny day on the beach. An assortment of fare from local food trucks--like Detroit BBQ Co., Cheese Street, El Charro and Drifter Coffee--will also be available for purchase.

Filling the air throughout the day will be the sounds of live performances from national-touring artists. Enjoy some rhythm and blues by legendary soul artist Lee Fields & The Expressions, an all-vinyl DJ set from Eastside Jon and a blend of global rhythms and indie-pop melodies from The Ragbirds.

A tentative schedule of the day’s events is as follows:

  • 8:30 AM Doors - House Music

  • 9:45 AM Race Safety Meeting

  • 10:00 AM Race starts

  • 12:00 PM - 4:45 PM Paddlerama

  • 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Eastside Jon (DJ Set)

  • 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM Awards Ceremony

  • 4:00 PM - 5:15 PM The Ragbirds

  • 5:45 PM - 7:00 PM Lee Fields & The Expressions

  • 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM Eastside Jon (DJ Set)


"It's thrilling to see how OABI has grown from a friendly paddle meet-up into a regional destination for paddlers,” said organizer Joe Choma, owner of Grand Circus Media, a producer of the event. “Belle Isle and Detroit are such a special location for the event - a non-buoyed race course through international waters and one of the most ironic beach settings in the shadows of the iconic Detroit skyline.  We are so proud to be able to showcase a much different side Detroit."

For more information about the event, visit OABIDetroit.com.

Ticket information and pricing:


Live music, local & regional vendors, games on the beach, access to food trucks and New Belgium Beer and full bar.

  • Advance $15

  • Day of $25



7-mile race around Belle Isle.

Includes:  race entry, Paddlerama participation, and entry to beach festival.  Racers also receive a racer shirt, gift bag, and exclusive racers’ lounge access.  The men’s and women’s SUP winners will each win a Detroit-manufactured bike courtesy of Detroit Bikes.

  • Advance $50

  • Day of event $70


Access to paddle classes, demos, and games on the beach. No experience required.

Includes:  Paddlerama participation and entry to beach festival. Paddlerama ticket purchasers will have the opportunity to pre-register for two classes, including Intro to SUP, Paddle Technique, SUP Yoga, Canal Tours, Intro to Kayak and more. These classes are subject to change and limited purchaser will receive an email as the event draws closer with instructions for pre-registration.  

  • Advance $40

  • Day of event  $50


The Opportunity Detroit OABI, the acronym for "Once Around Belle Isle," is the ultimate test of stamina as paddleboards, kayaks, and surfskis race around the 7-mile natural and non-buoyed Belle Isle course through the international waters of the Detroit River.  What started as an underground race in 2012 has quickly turned into an annual Midwest paddle destination, drawing recreational and professional competitors from around the country, and boasts an exciting melding of surf culture in an unexpected urban beach setting.


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