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Cruising the waters at Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival

By Celina Ip

Dozens of kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddleboarders take off frrom Petawawa Point Beach towards Pembroke for the 13 kilometre race of the Upper Ottawa River Race on Saturday morning.

Dozens of kayakers, canoeists and stand-up paddleboarders take off frrom Petawawa Point Beach towards Pembroke for the 13 kilometre race of the Upper Ottawa River Race on Saturday morning.

PEMBROKE & PETAWAWA – More than 300 canoe, paddleboard and kayak enthusiasts took part in the third annual Upper Ottawa River Race and Paddle Festival this past weekend.

 

On Saturday morning at 7:30 a.m., 34 eager participants enjoyed a warm and sunny day on the beach as they headed down to Petawawa Point for the Second Annual Upper Ottawa River Kayak Fishing Derby. The multi-species ‘catch-measure-photo-release’ fishing tournament awarded the top teams with some unique prizes, including a Jackson-Kilroy kayak presented to Michael Cox.

“Our derby went really well, we were a little bit worried about what the weather might be but the weather was fantastic and we had more derby participants than we had last year,” said Kelly Williams, manager of parks and recreation with the Town of Petawawa. “We had two father-son duos and probably about half of the participants were local and the other half were from all over – including Ottawa and Kingston. Everybody had a great day on the water and lots of fish were caught.”

Following the start of the Kayak Fishing Derby, the series of paddling races took place between Petawawa Point and Riverside Park.

The longest race kicked off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, with around 150 participants who went cruising 13 kilometres down the river in their water vessels. Another 40 paddlers engaged in the four kilometre race at 11 a.m. The final race, a free kids race, saw 35 youngsters challenge one another in a four-kilometre race.

Following the races, attendees enjoyed demos, challenges, clinics, games and vendor displays set up around Riverside Park. Live music and a barbecue dinner were also part of the festivities on the beach that evening.

According to City of Pembroke economic development officer Heather McConnell, the event was another great success that helped to promote the sport of paddling and encourage people to get active.

“We’re trying to get people into the sport of paddling which is also why we give the kids a free race, with the hope that maybe they'll pick up the sport and then get active in the Ottawa Valley,” said McConnell.

McConnell added that the event also serves to celebrate the Ottawa River’s beauty and its value to the region.

“This is obviously also about showcasing the beautiful river that we have here in Pembroke and Petawawa,” said McConnell. “We've had so many people come from the States and all over Canada. It's such a friendly, welcoming group of people and they're just here to have a good time.”

 

First and second place finishers for the four kilometre race:

Tandem Canoe Mixed

1. Crystal and Russel Schroeder

2. Rachel Bowman and partner

Tandem Canoe Female

1. Anna and Angie Austin

2. Freya Ames and Leeann Kranz

 

First and second place finishers for the 13 kilometre race:

Tandem Canoe Mixed 18-44

1. Jennifer and Sebastian Courville

2. Ashley Brazeau and Murphy Thorp

Tandem Canoe Mixed 45+

1. Linda and Perry Kirley

2. Sylvie and Ron Goode

Tandem Canoe Male 18-44

1. Aidan Buyers and Lee Connor

2. Paul Terry and Brad Toomath

Kayak Under 12 ft. Female 18-44

1. Jennifer Boyle

Kayak Under 12 ft. Female 45+

1. Dana Colbert-Meehan

2. Gladys Boyle

Kayak 12.1 ft. - 14 ft. Female 18-44

1. Anne Cross

2. Tash Sitkiewicz

Kayak 12.1 ft. - 14 ft. Male 45+

1. Real Paiement

2. Darren Burgess

Kayak 12.1 ft. - 14 ft. Female 45+

1. Helene Morency

Kayak 14 – 18 ft. Female 18-44

1. Mel Berry

Kayak 14 – 18 ft. Male 45+

1. Bevin Schmidt

2. James McAvoy

Kayak 14-18 ft. Female 45+

1. JoAnn Hanowski

2. Kim Emde

SUP 12 ft. (and under) Male 18-44

1. Frankie Bellissimo

2. Miguel Salas Hernandez

SUP 12 ft. (and under) Female 18-44

1. Amy Comacchio

2. Jennifer Liberty

SUP 12 ft. (and under) Female 45+

1. Debra Hawthorne

SUP 12 – 14 ft. Female 18-44

1. Maddy Schmidt

2. Ashley Fraser

SUP 12-14 ft. Female 45+

1. Louise Schmidt

2. Ghislaine Jean

SUP 14 ft. (and up) Male 18-44

1. Peter Turnley

2. John Loek

SUP 14 ft. (and up) Female 18-44

1. Courtney Sinclair

2. Sarah Mele

SUP 14 ft. (and up) Male 45+

1. Brent Schmidt

2. Paul Weich

SUP 14 ft. (and up) Female 45+

1. Julie Carmalt