Annual paddle fest goes this weekend

The Puntledge River will be high this weekend and so will be spirits during the ninth annual Puntledge River Paddle Festival.

Just a short distance away from downtown Courtenay is a place for paddlers of all levels to merge for the upcoming ninth annual Puntledge River Paddle Festival.

Maple Pool Campground will play host to between 140 to 150 paddlers from all over the province, Alberta and the U.S. this weekend, with many activities planned for June 8 and 9.

David Prothero, media and sponsorship co-ordinator for the Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society, said the origination works in conjunction with BC Hydro on this particular weekend to ensure flows on the river should be between 65 to 85 cm/second on Saturday and 85 to 100 cm/second Sunday.

“The Puntledge River is one of the best rivers in Western Canada,” he explained. “It’s going to be a very exciting weekend, and the event gets to showcase whitewater opportunities on the North Island.”

The event is open to paddlers of all experience levels, and the event will cost $45 per person, which includes shuttles, camping and a digital subscription to Rapid Magazine.

Prothero added there will be a live auction for a Jackson Villian kayak, donated by Western Canoe & Kayaking and Jackson Kayaks, with proceeds going to You Are Not Alone (YANA).

Also there will be games, a throw bag contest sponsored by Northwater, and a raffle draw with prizes from many great local and non–local sponsors.

For those wanting to view the paddlers, there will be signs posted around the area, or you can download a map on the Vancouver Island Whitewater Paddling Society website.

Non-kayakers looking for some excitement can sign up for guided rafting trips down the Puntledge by Campbell River’s Destiny River Adventures. Visit www.destinyriver.com, or call 250-287-4800 for more information.

To register or for more information, visit www.surfkayak.org or check out the group’s Facebook page, Vancouver Island White Water Paddling Society.

— Vancouver Island White Water Paddling Society