This September, Cape Breton will play host to the first-ever Just Paddle It! Festival in Eskasoni. The event, hosted by Atlantic Division Canoe Kayak Canada (ADCKC), in partnership with CBRM Recreation, Eskasoni First Nation, and several other community stakeholders, will take place Sept. 20-22 in Crane Cove and will offer canoe, kayak, and stand-up paddle sessions.
The Just Paddle It! event will be a celebration of paddling, history, and culture, and it’ll be lots of fun for the whole family. This is an event for both experienced and beginner paddlers, with opportunities to race, develop skills, socialize, and learn from a great community of athletes, sport leaders, Indigenous leaders, and dedicated volunteers.
Growing the sport together
The ADCKC’s objective is to increase the overall participation of paddle sport in Cape Breton, while supporting the development of Indigenous paddlers in the province. This is in perfect alignment with the values of CBRM Recreation department. A core goal of the department is to increase physical activity by connecting people with nature.
Being a community surrounded by water, we believe it’s important to provide recreational opportunities that take advantage of our natural resources—a value also outlined in the Shared Strategy for Advancing Recreation in Nova Scotia.
“On the heels of a very successful summer paddle season, we are thrilled to partner with a first class organization like ADCKC to advance the growth of paddling in Cape Breton. Community engagement and participation in paddle sport helps us to justify offering more opportunities within the sport,” said CBRM Outdoor Recreation Coordinator Ashley Eisan.
Bringing high-profile athletes to Cape Breton
This event is open to the public and will feature some notable star paddlers from Team Canada and Atlantic Canada, Olympic alumni, and North American Indigenous Games 2020 hopefuls. The focus of the racing will be to showcase opportunities for all ages in a scenic and welcoming setting.
Andrew Russell, one of the event’s organizers, is a former Olympian who competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Russell, who got his start paddling at the Lake Banook club, has been an ambassador for the sport since his early years. Events will include races, recreational paddles, on-land yoga, and meet-and-greet events with former Olympians.
To register for September’s event, check out ADCKC’s website.