(Ex)changing Paddling Gear

Perhaps you believe, as Kenneth Grahame suggests in his classic novel, The Wind in the Willows, that “there is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

If so, you need to get yourself to this weekend’s first annual Paddle Swap in Whitehorse.

“Members of the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club board thought this event would help us get our name out there and let people know that we are planning to expand our whitewater and flatwater services,” explains club member Daniel Girourard.

“We hope to offer the public organized trips, fixed paddling evenings for beginners and advanced paddlers, learn-to-paddle courses, regattas, youth programming and more.”

The club is always looking for new members, Girouardadds.

“Hopefully the swap attracts some new bloodwho would be willing to help us organize some new events, trips and paddling groups.”

The Paddling Swap takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the Canoe and Kayak Club’s bins near the city intake at the foot of Selkirk Street on the Yukon River banks in Riverdale.

If you’re planning to sell something, you’re asked to arrive at 10 a.m.

Participants will be able to buy, sell or trade paddling gear, so if you’re looking to get or get rid of canoes, kayaks, paddles, spray skirts, wet-suits, dry-suits, gloves, boots, or helmets this is the place for you.

Girouard says the swap is about more than just gear.

“People should come out because this will give them the opportunity to buy and sell their gear, but also because it will give them the opportunity to get to know other people that share the same interests as them,” he says.

“Hopefully this will enable them to make new connections and help them plan more trips and casual outings on a regular basis.”

The club will host a barbecue to keep the swap fun and social.

“The canoe club executive will be out talking to people during the swap to get their thoughts on how we can improve and what they would like us to offer,” Girouard says.

“We really believe that we have the potential of becoming one of the top clubs in the Yukon, but we need input from the territory’s paddling community to make that happen.”

The club has lots of plans to put in place over the summer.

“For the whitewater paddlers, we will have some adult and youth paddling nights at the intake, we will have people organizing some river trips, we will be starting a slalom group in partnership with Trevor Braun. And we will have at least one down-river slalom race and rodeo in August,” Girouard explains.

“For the flatwater paddlers, we will have some fun 10 km flat-water races on Thursday nights on the Yukon River and Chadburn Lake and several other longer races throughout the summer.”

Girouard adds that the club also plans to offer the public some beginner evenings to help people learn or improve their basic strokes.

Saturdays’s swap, he believes, will appeal to newbie and veteran paddlers alike.

“I know that there’s a ton of people out there that own equipment and don’t use it, and there’s always people that are looking to purchase some. That’s what attractive about this event,” he says.

“I really encourage people to bring their gear down to the swap, so that others can view it. Of course, the club is also always open to people who would be willing to donate their gear so that we can offer it to our members to use.”

Looking forwards to this summer’s paddling season, Girouard adds, “Mostly I am looking forward to meeting some new people and making some new connections, so that we can all go out paddling together and learn from each other, all in the name of fun!”

If you want to learn more and get in on the fun you can check out the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club’s website athttp://www.yckc.ca/home

Amber Church is a painter, writer and sports enthusiast. You can reach her at [email protected].

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