Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Cowichan River Youth Festival - 'One Of A Kind' Festival Held on Vancouver Island

The Cowichan River Youth Festival on Vancouver Island, is an annual youth kayaking festival hosted by Dan Norman and his students from Brentwood College. This festival is one of the only whitewater kayaking youth specific events in the country and we are happy to support it. At the beginning of this year we also started sponsoring, young whitewater kayaker, Avery Wilkins from Chilliwack, BC and below Avery shares his thoughts from the weekend. If you have a young person interested in whitewater kayaking get in touch with us, we can connect you to various youth programs that we know of here in Western Canada.

Last month (April 2017) my dad, a friend and I went to the Cowichan River Youth Festival on Vancouver Island. held at the Horseshoe Bend Group campsite on the Cowichan River (Duncan BC). A lot of people from Vancouver Island come to this event including adult volunteers and kids from schools across the island and lower mainland who want to learn how to paddle. This event is a unique event and the only youth dedicated festival in western Canada to my knowledge.

Photo: Darryl Spencer

The first paddling event was a mandatory pool session on Friday evening. At this time I practiced a few flatwater cartwheels and met some new paddlers and fellow CRYK Fest alumni. Then it was back to the campsite for a fire and some laughs. 

Duncan Aquatic Center - Photo: Dan Norman

  On Saturday there were two river runs. There were two groups, there was the advanced group and the beginners group. I was in the advanced group with 6 other people from Chilliwack. We did runs down the easier section that the beginners were practicing to do on Sunday for the first time. On Saturday all of the beginners were at the duck pond which was a part of the Cowichan that has no significant rapids making it a great learning experience. For our second run we did the initial section and then continued on down into the canyon section which was the section only the advanced paddlers were allowed. 

Beginners group about to launch at the duck pond near the mouth of the Cowichan River – Photo: Darryl Spencer

On Sunday the advanced group did the canyon again but with more people who had been working on their skills on the previous day. We had one swimmer on that run but they hiked out smiling.

WW shot of the advanced group instructors Jeff and Dave leading into the rapids – Photo: Darryl Spencer

  After the canyon I helped the instructors when the beginners were coming down the first section. This is always fun, having up to 40 boaters coming down the river at once.

The start of the combined groups heading out together on Sunday – Photo: Darryl Spencer

 Overall I had a really fun time during the festival and can’t wait to go next year.

For information on the festival for 2018 check out   http://www.canoekayakbc.ca/events  for future dates.

Campsite Photo of the whole gang after the Sunday Floatilla – Photo: Darryl Spencer

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