This season has been a bit different for me than last because I am not doing as many races. I decided this year to just commit to four races over the summer and this has given me some time to do some other kinds of paddling and adventures. I have done some long paddles on the Shuswap, spent a day paddling at Adams Lake and helped with some kids camps at Kalavida Surf Shop.
One super cool paddle that I did was on the lower part of Shuswap river (lies Northeast of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia). This part of the river is wide and slow moving which makes it a nice relaxing time on the water. Even for the more beginner paddler you can still have a fun time on this river.
I started at Grinrod Park and I finished at Mara Lake, which was a total of 18 km. This may seem like a lot but you are on a river that does have a current so it is not so bad, there are even cool places to stop along the way for a lunch break like little islands in the middle of the river.
One of the reasons we decided to paddle this part of the river is on July 27 the Lower Shuswap River Stewardship Society held a “No Wake Flotilla” and paddled this stretch of river to raise awareness about the effects of power boats on the shoreline and the river. We had planned to take part but then couldn’t go that day so went the next weekend instead. When we were on the river we could see the effects from boat wakes – there are lots of trees fallen in the river because the banks have eroded away. When we got closer to Mara Lake there were a few boats towing wakeboarders or tubes on the river. So even though this is a very easy river to navigate you still have to watch out for boats. Most of them do slow down but you should still keep to the side and just keep an eye when you go around blind corners.
Since this is a river I used an all round surf board just because it is more stable than a race board and I was in no hurry to get down. I also used my Werner Nitro M, which I found worked perfect for this river because the paddle blade does not have a huge surface area so it would not put a lot of strain on my shoulders. You want to be comfortable for when you are paddling for along time.
***we will be seeing Eli this weekend at the Kalamalka Classic in Vernon, BC hosted by Kalavida Surf Shop and we are sure we will hear all about his Columbia Gorge experience.***