In this video, kayak pro and Aqua-Bound ProStaffer Ken Whiting and his family take us on some beginner-friendly whitewater on the Ottawa River.
This short film, part of the Paddle Tales series, was selected for the 2020 Kendal Mountain Festival:
Whitewater Kayaking on the Ottawa River
The whitewater region of the Ottawa River is located in Ontario’s Highlands, within easy distance of both Ottawa and Toronto.
Ken knows this area well: “The Ottawa River is known for having some of the best park and play spots in the world. That means places you can literally drive up to and you spend your whole day at one feature. It’s hosted a number of world freestyle kayaking championships because of that.
“It’s one of the top whitewater kayaking destinations in the world, and one of the big reasons my wife and I settled down here 18 years ago. And so we’re pretty excited that our daughter, Chelsea, seems to have developed the same passion for the river that we have.”
Chelsea and two of her friends took whitewater kayak camp through Liquid Skills prior to filming this video. They learned the strokes they’d need, how to roll and they got a bit of experience on the Ottawa River near Beachburg, Ontario.
Kayaking through S-Turn Hole & Butterfly
Ken and Nicole originally met on the river, so this was a very special time for them—the first time all three of them whitewater kayaked together in their own boats.
The Whiting family and their friends loved kayaking in the “S turn hole” on the Ottawa. This isn’t as well known as some of the river’s other park-and-play spots, but was perfect for them. It’s a smaller, safe place to start for kids and beginners of all ages. It’s a popular spot for body surfing, boogie boarding and swimming, too.
Nicole said, “Even for a paddler my age and who doesn’t paddle as often as I’d like, I can go in there and try some tricks I haven’t done in awhile and not worry about throwing out a shoulder or injuring myself. I had to take the opportunity to show Chelsea what her mom could do for a change!”
The Butterfly rapids section in the Ottawa was another highlight. This short, deep section offers is perfect for beginning and young whitewater kayakers to practice their skills in a safe environment. The waves are bigger than S-turn and offers a little more challenge, but isn’t overwhelming.
“This is the first time we’ve been in our own kayaks. We made it, and now a whole new world is opened up to us. It’s gonna be good!” said Ken.
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