May 30, 2010 saw Canada get 7 medals at the World Cup Paddling competition in Szeged,Hungary – does this mean that paddling is in our blood?!! As Canadians we have an abundance of beautiful and breathtaking places to paddle, both competitively and recreationally and more and more Canadians are getting into the sport every year. According to Canadian government statistics, as many as nine million Canadians participate in recreational boating each year and the National Marine Manufacturers Association Canada states that the sales of canoes and kayaks in Canada is a $92 million dollar industry.
So how would one get started paddling? Before purchasing a canoe or kayak, take a lesson to see if it is the right sport for you. That will also ensure that you learn to properly paddle and avoid injury and accidents. The Ontario Recreational Canoe and Kayak Association (ORCKA) has a database on their website to help you find a paddling course near you and there are similar associations across the country.
For competitive paddling look to CanoeKayak Canada. There you can learn about the Canada’s gold medal champions as well as the different levels of competitive paddling: Sprint, White Water and Marathon.