Our River Notes page highlights recent articles, new instructional concepts, and paddling techniques. River Notes also includes our river journal, so you can follow our trips throughout the year. A reminder that the information stated on this site is designed as a general guide and not a substitute for experience. We do not take responsibility for the use of any of the materials or methods described. (more…)

2015 ACA Nationals (NORAM) on the Madawaska!!

Attention open canoers, this year the ACA North American Open Canoe Slalom Championships (NORAM) will be held at the Madawaska Canoe Centre in Barry’s Bay Ontario Canada. Race dates are July 22 – 24. Come earlier to partake in other paddling opportunities, or stick around afterward, the water is warm and levels in the area of Ontario will be great!

This family friendly slalom race spans the whole white-water canoeing community, novice to well-seasoned, North American to beyond, with two weeks of slalom courses and clinics, local river runs, practice time and, of course, the race itself.

MKC is home to one of the best slalom courses available anywhere, with warm water rushing through 25 gates, more the 70 practice eddies throughout the run, class II – III channels, all with a mature mixed forest backdrop to the rocky shoreline. The downriver run travels 5 km through nearly continuous white-water with rapids ranging in difficulty from class I to III.

If you have not yet visited MKC, check out their website.  www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc  It features a spectacular deck ringed chalet/dining room, boutique and coffee bar, log sauna, lodge rooms, dorms and cabanas, plus camping for 150+ paddlers. Delicious meal plans are available during the event so you can put all your energy into paddling then wind down on the deck with fellow paddlers in the evening.

Race classes are divided into categories for men, women, mixed, juniors and offer runs through both the slalom course and also the 5 km downriver event. If you are new to slalom the Citizen class attracts those who have not competed before and want to give racing a try. There are many Recreational classes for plastic canoes with some classes offering up some stiff competition. Then, there is the Race class with arguably the fastest boats, the glass race canoes.

In addition to the slalom race, all are invited to join in some local river runs prior to and after NORAM. Local sections of the Madawaska River offer more class I – III white-water runs. An hour and half away is the mighty Ottawa River with its famous class III middle channel and pumping class IV main Channel. Also worth visiting are the Petawawa, Gatineau and Rouge Rivers.

If more paddling variety is needed, maybe for family members not into canoeing, rafting on the Madawaska River at MKC the week prior is perfect for a float trip. Or, to up the adrenaline, rafting with OWL (MKC’s sister company) on the Ottawa River is spectacular.

Stay tuned for more information.

So, come join the canoeing fun! Race, paddle, meet new friends, catch up with old friends – this is going to be a great event!

See you there,

Carole and Andrew Westwood

Schedule of events and courses 2014!

The following are courses and trips that we will be participating in or conducting. Hope to see you on one of them!

Slalom Coaching Series

This year we’ve decided to do a Coaching on the fly style using clinics and short courses for those wishing to improve their slalom technique or would like to improve their river running by using the same skills as one would use to paddle slalom – precision! Look at our Westwood Cafe Menu to see what type of course would suit you. Contact us for further info.

April 26 – 27  MACKFEST 2014 

Hwy 7 rivers: Beaver and Black

Marmora, Ontario

For more info go to: Mackfest.ca

 

May 3 – 4  Paddle Canada Advanced Solo/Tandem Instructor Recertification 

at MKC on the Madawaska River

For more information go to:  www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc/canoe_instructor.html

 

May 10 – 11 Gateway to Better River Running

Build river running skills not by the school of hard knocks, rather, refine skills by running gates on relatively safe slalom courses. Repeat practice tunes your technique – besides, wouldn’t you rather miss a gate than splat a rock?

RACCC – Ottawa’s Canoe and Camping Club (formerly the YCCC)

Must be a member to participate

www.raccc.ca

May 31 – June 01 Essentials of Water Reading

Tap into the power of water; its wave featues, current lines and eddy pools,  by using colour and texture to read all that the  river has to offer.

RACCC – Ottawa’s Canoe and Camping Club (formerly the YCCC)

Must be a member to participate

www.raccc.ca

 

June 28 – June 30  Dryway of the Deerfield River Release

Deerfield River, Massachusetts

Event full

 

July 7 – 11 Open Canoeing Unplugged!

Join Andrew and Paul Mason, as they present their own personal interpretation of Solo Open Boating sharing their secrets of how to go magically fast, make seemingly impossible moves using water features, or perform 360 spins, while still finding the time to throw in a little creeking, slalom and lots of river running!

http://owl-mkc.ca/mkc/event/open-canoe-unplugged/ 

 

July 7 – 11 Paddling with Carole Westwood

Carole has been an avid paddler for over 20 years, excelling both in whitewater kayak and canoeing. Noted for her acute eye in water reading, she excels in many environments from river running, creeking to slalom racing and finding the most efficient lines. Teaching others how to do this effortlessly is a passion. She has been Kayak Chief Instructor for WO and is an  Advanced Instructor for Canoeing for Paddle Canada. She has also garnered many podium finishes Nationally and in North America in canoe slalom races. Join her at MKC for a week of honing your canoeing skills!

For more information go to:  http://owl-mkc.ca/mkc/contact-us/ and ask to be put on Carole’s course

 

July 18 – 22 Alberta Paddling Trip

Schedule TBA. Contact Haskins Canoe at: www.haskincanoe.ca/

 

Aug 11 – 15   THE DREAM RIVER TRIP – Prepare for your Big Adventure & How to paddle with Partners !

When canoeing solo or tandem, well-honed paddling skills and excellent communication are vital to a great day on the water.  Whether a day trip or a multi week adventure, you need to develop strategies to navigate through rapids.  Effective water reading, boat maneuvers and stroke placement leads to success when running rapids.

Understanding your role within a group or with your partner also contributes to achieving the most from any day on the water.  We will explore methods of river reading, maneuvering in rapids as well as mental preparation and effective communication skills for the journey. Join noted canoe adventurers  Andrew and Carole for this 5 days of fun and discovery on both the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers !

For more information go to: http://owl-mkc.ca/mkc/event/the-dream-river-trip/

 Sept 13 – 14  GULL River Race
Gull River, Minden ON

The Westwood Cafe!

New for this year is the Westwood Cafe with a menu style list of skills courses. Paddlers can feast by selecting appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Based on your selection, clinics and courses can last from a few hours to multi day instructional events. For more information contact us or checkout the Events page for courses.

 

Westwood CafeMenu web

 

One word describing Costa Rica? Fabulous!

Why so fabulous?

entertaining rivers

jungle rain forests

confident personable guides looking after all the logistics

wildlife and birds unlike anything at home

accommodation that was comfortable in a wilderness setting

 

Costa rica has everything going for it. Rivers can be handpicked for every skill level. Rivers paddled include different sections of the Sarapiqui, Pacuare, and the Reventazon.  Jim Coffey has all boat types to host every boat style from solo to tandem, openboat, kayak, and for those wanting a day off, a trip in a raft! For us, paddling in shorts and rash guard while neighbors back home dug out from under snow drifts and bitter cold temperatures only made this destination more satisfying! If your a paddler too and can book off a weeks holiday next year you have to see Costa Rica with Esprit. In fact we will be going again next Dec 28 – Jan 3 2015. Hope to see you there!

DSC00099 DSC00100 DSC00106 DSC00113 DSC00137 DSC04385 DSC04413

Summer 2013 recap and Costa Rica in Dec!!

September is upon us and like most, I look back on our lovely summer which flew by much too fast. It seems like our personal motto is “What can we possibly fit in this space of time to maximize our play time on the water?” Just last week we looked at the house and thought that it would probably be a good thing to do some house maintenance. What can we do in 3 days? True to the motto, we packed re leveling a garden wall, grinding down 2 butternut tree stumps, regrading the back yard, conditioning the soil (read clay) with sand and seeding soil for grass. Dawn to dusk.

Our summer was the same, packed with fun and adventure!

We started with ACA North American OC Slalom Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin. Although I was concerned with our level of fitness due to our busy winter and spring with family duties, we did extremely well and a personal best for me – 4 golds, 2 silver, only woman to have a clean run and fastest woman paddler. Andrew brought in 3 golds, 3 silver and one bronze. It is also a meeting of friends and we were happy to see familiar faces, share stories and race together. Afterwards we joined a group to paddle the Wolf River inWisconsin, a mix of creek, gorge and sometimes big features. Definitely to do again!

Next we went down to our annual visit to the Deerfield River and paddled for 3 days, visited Boston for a quick overnight (thank you Ken and Ellen Glusman!), and then went up to the coast of Maine for a quick hello to the ocean. Lobster!!! Yum!!

We then spent 5 days at MKC for our Dream Trip Course, combining honing up whitewater skills in both tandem and solo with strategies to making a trip experience smooth – whether a day trip or one of several weeks. Great fun!!

Interspersed in this was the MKC Slalom Series happening once a month in June, July and August. Thank you to all the volunteers who really make it happen!! Always a good time and fun to share strategies and ideas with folks new to the sport.  We also had some exciting runs down the Ottawa and Gatineau Rivers.

Coming up is the Gull River Race in Minden Sept 7-8th. Added excitement will be trips later this fall to the Upper Yough, Upper Gauley, and the Moose River Weekend. Perhaps most exciting of all will be our trip to Costa Rica as guest instructors with Esprit Dec 28 – Jan 4 for some amazing canoeing. Come and join us!! Contact Esprit at www.whitewater.ca or email them for info at costarica@whitewater.ca

Schedule for 2013!

The following are courses and trips that we will be participating in or conducting. Hope to see you on one of them!

2013 Slalom Coaching Series

This summer long coaching series offers 4 days of clinics (Apr 20, May 25, June 22 and Aug 24th) devoted to slalom techniques, racing strategy, mental preparation for racing and practice drills. We will also look at ideas for cross training and nutrition when training for racing.  Max 8 participants. $600/person Contact us through the Contact Page for more information

 

May 4 – 5  Paddle Canada Advanced Solo/Tandem Instructor Recertification 

at MKC on the Madawaska River

For more information go to:  www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc/canoe_instructor.html

 

May 10 – 13 Paddle Canada Atlantic Paddle Symposium St John, New Brunswick

Both Carole and Andrew are invited coaches to conduct whitewater canoeing clinics

For more information see:  www.atlanticpaddlesymposium.com

 

June 15 – 16 Advanced Solo Whitewater Canoeing

RACCC – Ottawa’s Canoe and Camping Club (formerly the YCCC)

Must be a member to participate

www.raccc.ca

 

June 29 – July 1  Solo Whitewater Canoe Slalom Racing Clinic

RACCC – Ottawa’s Canoe and Camping Club (formerly the YCCC)

Must be a member to participate

www.raccc.ca

 

July 12 – July 14  2013 ACA Open Canoe Slalom Nationals & North American Championships – Wausau, Wisconsin

For information see: http://ocs.whitewater-slalom.us/oc-champ.htm

 

July 15 – 17 Open Canoe Slalom Camp and Race

An excellent opportunity to be coached, and videoed. Evening sessions will include video analysis, stretching, physiology and nutrition. This camp leads up to the MKC’s annual Slalom Race on the Wednesday. See link:

www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc/caone_slalom.html

 

July 26 – 28th Weekend on the Dryway, Deerfield River, Massachusetts

 

Aug 12 – 16 NEW THIS YEAR!  THE DREAM RIVER TRIP – Prepare for your Big Adventure & How to paddle with Partners !

When canoeing solo or tandem, well-honed paddling skills and excellent communication are vital to a great day on the water.  Whether a day trip or a multi week adventure, you need to develop strategies to navigate through rapids.  Effective water reading, boat maneuvers and stroke placement leads to success when running

rapids.  Understanding your role within a group or with your partner also contributes to achieving the most from any day on the water.  We will explore methods of river reading, maneuvering in rapids as well as mental preparation and effective communication skills for the journey. Join noted canoe adventurers Andrew and Carole Westwood for 5 days of fun and discovery on both the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers !

at MKC

For more information go to: www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc/canoe_tripping.html

 

Still some space left!

If your whitewater paddling trip is just for one day or lasting for months, and if your in a group of just two in tandem/solo or a larger group, you may want to consider this course. Why? Because you will :

– hone your WW skills whether intermediate or advanced
– be shown river reading strategies
– be learning how to manage the trip on the river as either a participant or leader
– learn ways on how to communicate with a paddling partner
– learn how to anticipate and deal with different issues that may come up on a trip
– have a great time!

You need not be with a partner to benefit from this course. The information is good knowledge for any paddling person to have!

With this in mind we’ve put together a 5-day course at MKC August 12 – 16th 2013. Here is the MKC blurb:

THE DREAM RIVER TRIP-Prepare for your Big Adventure & How to paddle with Partners !

When canoeing solo or tandem, well-honed paddling skills and excellent communication are vital to a great day on the water.  Whether a day trip or a multi week adventure, you need to develop strategies to navigate through rapids.  Effective water reading, boat maneuvers and stroke placement leads to success when running rapids.  Understanding your role within a group or with your partner also contributes to achieving the most from any day on the water.  We will explore methods of river reading, maneuvering in rapids as well as mental preparation and effective communication skills for the journey. Join noted canoe adventurers Andrew and Carole Westwood for this 5 days of fun and discovery on both the Madawaska and Ottawa Rivers !

If your interested in joining us go to this link at MKC!

http://www.owl-mkc.ca/mkc/canoe_tripping.html

 

Tennessee Spring 2013 – both a great and tragic time

Here we are traveling down again for the spring exodus to good padding and warmer weather! Nothing feels quite as wonderful as shedding the winter gear and donning on sandals, shorts and TShirts. Mind you, we are Canadian. It would be just above freezing and we would still wear the sandals at least! Free the Toes!

It’s all about the paddling, really. A smorgasborg of rivers all for the taking for all levels and tastes. All you have to do is connect with a few key people and your on your way for a great day of paddling!

The towns around are also beginning to notice the positive impact on tourist dollars coming in, and for the first time, the Lenoir City Visitors Center is taking an active part in promoting the event and giving paddlers deals for lodging and a place to gather in the evenings to talk of the day’s adventures. This year is drawing paddlers from Europe and the Canadian North. Who knows. Maybe next year it will draw in people from all over the world!

Unfortunately we lost one of our friends, Dr. Steve Senior to the river. It happened as a freak accident on a section of rapid that we all swam before and never thought it held any consequence. Steve was having a great day and his paddling was strong. He had the strongest and most experienced paddlers in river rescue with him and although their efforts were heroic , they were not able to rescue him in time.

http://www.thepeterboroughexaminer.com/2013/03/19/popular-active-doctor-remembered-as-sportsman-caring-family-man

Our hearts go out to his friends and family and are convinced that his spirit of excellence in all he did will live on.

A Brand New Year is Upon Us!

Last year came and went extremely fast. Add life, family and work challenges and voila. Here we are in 2013 already planning for the next paddling season. Our 2012 year was epic, hunting the elusive river flow that was extremely rare in our area due to a very dry spring and summer. As such we travelled quite far to find the flow we wanted! As usual, we did our instructor recert courses in the spring for Paddle Canada. Andrew continues being active in the Program Development Committee for Whitewater Canoeing. During the summer, we spent a couple of weeks at MKC. We also did a trip down to Massachusetts to hang out with a group organized by Ken Glusman. Again Andrew was in his element talking water physics and the dynamics of boat travel and paddle strokes. Little did he know that some of the folks present were from MIT. WELL! That did it. Evening hours were spent discussing Einstein’s little red book and his theories on flow dynamics. After awhile we had to look for water. And we found it. South. Back to Tennessee. We decided to go after we learned that it had rained for the past 9 days. The creeks were running – and some that only come up once in a blue moon. Heaven! Fall saw us traveling back down again to North Carolina to NOC for the ACA NorthAmerican Slalom Championships.

See the video Paul Mason compiled of the event to show OC slalom at PaddlePointers:

http://paddlepointers.com/home.html

The Canadian group did extremely well, garnering many first place finishes. Andrew and I podiumed at all our events – 14 medals in total! The project that we started the year previous in coaching OC Slalom was on again this year and was a great success! We had a group of 5 and of those we saw significant improvement in their paddling skills. A few joined in going down to NOC to race at that level for the first time. As Bill Kirkland mentioned, you learn more attending one of these events than you could ever imagine. You leave as a different paddler.

Our Website is Getting a Spa!

Well, sort of. During the upcoming weeks the pages will change somewhat; same look just more to offer! We will be adding a page specifically for techniques articles, a link to canoeing videos, and we’ll be also linking to Facebook!

Stay tuned!