Paddling Destination – Ottawa River

The Ottawa river should be a must on all kayakers lists. With its big warm water, beautiful scenery, friendly people and lines for everyone from beginner to class V boaters its an ideal location for almost everyone. It is one of my favorite paddling destinations in the world and for many a good reason!


There is always a freestyle feature to surf no matter what the level. Flows are typically high water in the spring with the great snow melt (bus eater, minibus, gladiator waves) and much lower in the summer meaning waves like Garberator, baby face and pushbutton.
The river has two channels, the middle and the main; both offer a lot of variety in play and river running skills. The high water is well known for it big water style, whilst the middle is better known for its lower volume lines.

For first timers here there are many options to help you find your way down and make the most of all that the river offers. There are many kayak schools and clinics in the area, taught by world class boaters so you know you’re in good hands.

I will warn you though it is an extremely busy river in the summer, packed with rafts and boaters lining up all to get a piece of the action at each feature. Many of the worlds top playboaters migrate here for incredible warm wave training and next year will be no exception.
The Ottawa River will be hosting the 2014 Freestyle Kayak World Championships on Garberator Wave. It will be the first river in history to host the World Championships twice. Even more proof that it’s the place to visit.

It also offers an abundance of flat water to work on your flat-water freestyle and train up your fitness, as well as many a fish just waiting to be caught in the various corners of the river. On the paddle down you will also spot many great island and beach location for overnight camp trips if that’s more your style.

So if you are thinking of where to go to hone your wave skills or just improve your general boating on a swim friendly river, where it is almost impossible to find yourself alone, then you definitely need to consider the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada

Courtney Kerin

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