Lassen Floating Floozies
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By Kerri Regan
Photos courtesy of the Floating Floozies
A full moon rises, and the Lassen Floating Floozies have the best seat in the house. Women of all stripes, they’re perched in their kayaks on Whiskeytown Lake, wearing tiaras and carrying glow sticks. Sometimes, the only sounds are crickets and the gentle splash of a paddle breaking the surface of the lake. Other times, infectious laughter echoes through the cove, like the soundtrack of sisterhood.
The Lassen Floating Floozies are dedicated to casual paddling, mostly of local lakes. Lest you think they exclude men, “My brother is allowed to come because he loads and unloads the kayaks for us old ladies,” explains the Floozies’ Cris Hillman.
Headquartered in Shingletown, most of the floozies are in their 60s, with Hillman being the kid of the bunch at age 45. The elderfloozie is 76. About 25 women attend floats regularly.
Their typical haunts are Whiskeytown, Lassen Park and Lake Britton. Some have vintage trailers, which they enjoy bringing along on their treks so they can camp.
“We’re pretty laid back and don’t plan too far in advance, for sure,” Hillman says. “People come if they have time, and they don’t if they don’t.”
Each time they get together, Hillman provides pink goodie bags containing fun items like bubbles, gum, candy, tiaras, glow sticks, noisemakers and the like. “We always have toys to play with, which is way cool. We always have a great time.”
Why is it fun to paddle with friends? “They bring wine,” Hillman deadpans. “We’re silly and we giggle.”
The group’s favorite spot seems to be Whiskeytown – specifically Brandy Creek. “The moonlight paddles are my favorite,” says Hillman. “It’s kind of intimate – it’s just us. We just cruise and we’re really slow. We check out the crawdads and the other boats and the other people. We’re like looky-lous. Some of us get out and swim.”
Hillman bought her first kayak in 2013, and “it just goes downhill from there,” she says. “Then you want a bigger one, and a nicer one.”
The beauty of the sport is its inclusivity. “It’s quiet and anybody can do it,” she says. “It’s mellow. It’s outdoors. It doesn’t require major equipment – you can take kayaks anywhere. And you can go up little tiny creeks – we went on Cow Creek from Palo Cedro to Hawes.”
But one must beware the hazards of kayaking – “when you do hard-core paddling, you spill your wine,” she warns with an easy laugh.
The power of sisterhood runs strong with the Floozies. “We give each other so much therapy,” Hillman says. “We’re all in different stages of life, from pre-menopause to post-menopause.”
And their children run the gamut from professionals to people who have had trouble with the law, so the women can support each other through the ongoing challenges of parenthood – whatever someone is going through, chances are good that someone else has already been there, done that and learned something worth sharing.
“We hold each other up,” she says.
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