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News items and noteworthy items from CPI.

Mark your calendars! On Friday, April 25th, we are having a fantastic event to celebrate all forms of paddling in Saskatchewan. In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of one of Canada's oldest and foremost canoe outfitters and instruction companies, Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, we are gathering as many folks as we can from far and wide to get together and share campfire stories and tales of adventure. We'll be looking at the history of paddling in Saskatchewan, the current state of paddling in our region, and take a look forward to an exciting future!


Paul Mason (accomplished paddler, author, creator of the Bubble Street cartoons on the front page, and son of famed paddler, Bill Mason) will be visiting from the Ottawa Valley along with many other paddlers young and old. Ric Driediger of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters will be giving the keynote address.

In addition to a fantastic supper at TCU Place in Saskatoon, there will be exhibitor displays (including Coldspring Paddling, of course) and a "Show & Shine" for paddle-craft of various sorts that folks want to show off (I better put a fresh coat of varnish on the cedar-strip kayak!). Have a canoe, kayak or other non-motorized craft that you want to show off? Then sign up to put it on display!

Sask Paddling Symposium poster: canoe, paddleboard, kayak


Some of the vendors & organizations involved in supporting this event or attending as exhibitors (so far, and not necessarily complete):

~We'd love to have more exhibitors join us so if you're interested in a table or booth at the show, give them a shout: http://www.saskpaddlingsymposium.com/ - see the "Be an Exhibitor" tab.

Most of the 2014 Spring slate of lessons is now published on the website (through to the end of June). Check out the Lessons tab to see the details of the various lessons on offer, and to register for any course. Last year courses filled up fast so don't be disappointed, register soon. Still to come are some lessons for kids and families, a National Paddling Week event, and summer lessons.

Paddle Canada has made a name change for one of it's programs. The Paddle Canada Introduction to Kayak Skills course is now simply named Basic Kayak Skills. The change was made to make things consistent with the other Paddle Canada programs (canoe, SUP, river kayak), and to keep it simple. It is just a name change, but it will affect the names of the courses I offer in 2014 and beyond. So, if you are looking for the Introduction to Kayaking Skills courses that I have been offering in past years, it's now Basic Kayak Skills, or just Basic Kayak. Same great program, just a more basic name.

Wow, 2013 turned out to be a great year for Coldspring Paddling Instruction! Here are some of the highlights from the past year.

Kids Course

In the summer of 2013 we introduced a new course just for kids. Following on the success of my Parents + Kids courses, I wanted to run a course that just focused on the kids. The course went great and we had some fun. Look for more of these to be offered in 2014.

Carla & Jeff

This year I taught a couple of courses with Carla Punshon & Jeff Roe, two great Saskatoon sea kayakers and both great Paddle Canada instructors. Both are involved in building the paddling community - Carla starts them young through Girl Guides, including teaching my daughter during a camp. Jeff creates connections among kayakers and organizes informal events for us to work on our skill development.


I am on the Paddle Canada Board of Directors and found myself sitting on the committee to create a new educational program aimed at reaching kids and casual paddlers (those who might not yet feel compelled to take a course). The program is called PaddleSmart and is the paddling component of the already existing AdventureSmart program. A few of us met near Ottawa in February where we were graciously hosted by the legendary paddling family, the Masons, in Joyce's home. It was pretty awesome to spend that time in such a beautiful setting working on a paddling education program while surrounded by so many of Bill Mason's personal effects, and to meet his wonderful family. More recently, I attended a Search & Rescue conference in Chilliwack where we made the official launch of the program training other Paddle Canada instructors and SAR personnel. The manuals have now been polished up and printed so look for a PaddleSmart training session coming soon to a location near you! (I'll be coordinating with local SAR groups to train some PaddleSmart trainers, and likely reaching out to local paddling and youth groups.)

Level 1

This was the second year offering the Paddle Canada Level 1 course and we had a blast this year at Candle Lake again. Great weather, great and eager students, and time to work on some neat stuff. It all adds up to tons of fun on the water.

Evening Paddles on the South Saskatchewan

New for 2013 was a casual evening paddle/course on the South Saskatchewan River, specifically for those that have previously taken my courses. This offering was a huge success and I will be doing more of it in 2014. It was a great chance for those that have taken a course, but maybe aren't that comfortable yet on the river, to give it a try with the reassurance of having an instructor at hand.

New Registration System

Hopefully you hardly even noticed, but I installed a new course registration system on the website last winter. It worked very well, despite not smoothly handling courses being held in multiple locations.

By the Numbers

  • Number of courses: 18
  • Number of students: 110 (includes a few people that took more than one course)
  • Custom bookings: 4
  • PC Introduction to Kayaking certified courses: 5
  • PC Level 1 Sea Kayak certified courses: 1
  • Introductory Clinics: 9
  • Intermediate Skills Clinics: 1
  • Courses cancelled or rescheduled due to miserable weather: 1
  • Number of mosquitoes ingested during that one course in July: too many
  • Number of times I was rolled in the Florida surf: lots!
  • Number of times I capsized unintentionally during courses: not sayin'

Looking Forward to 2014

I have a few things in mind for 2014, including pool sessions in the winter, more skills-based clinics (rescues, etc.), and more kids courses. I'll also try to run something with yoga next year but I'll do it differently than what I tried this year. I love the north and so really hope to be able to offer some courses this year up near La Ronge. Another couple of items on my agenda are to get out west for a symposium and more training. So, stay tuned as we plan for another great year!

Ready for the Level 1 course at Candle Lake

The 2013 season of lessons is underway and we are off to a great start, the first outdoor lesson occuring this Thursday! We've really only just gotten rolling and already there are only a handful of spots left in the scheduled courses. I still have hopes to add a couple more course but, to be honest, my schedule is very nearly at capacity (my wife would say it's well over-capacity). So, head to the Lessons page to check out what's on offer before it's too late!

What our Students are Saying about Us

"You were very informative and I would recommend your class to
anyone considering taking up kayaking."

- Marvin Doepker, Saskatoon

What our Students are Saying about Us

- Donelda Gowan-Moody, Saskatoon

"Thank you very much for the paddling instruction.
We all thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
Our son says that kayaking is AWESOME!"

What our Students are Saying about Us

"I wanted to stop and tell you that you are among
the best instructors I've ever had."
- Pool Student