Growth of flatwater paddling seen at championships

The Olympic sport of flatwater paddling is still new to the territory, but it’s picking up speed.

The Olympic sport of flatwater paddling is still new to the territory, but it’s picking up speed.

A total of 21 youth paddlers — and a bunch of their parents — took part in the second annual Yukon Flatwater Championships at Schwatka Lake on Saturday.

Results from the races weren’t recorded because it wasn’t about first, second, third. It was about exposing the kids to a race atmosphere.

“We’re just starting. It gives the kids an idea of what racing is. I have quite a few who are interested in competing,” said Daniel Girouard, head coach of the flatwater division with the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club.

“I just invited all the youth who are training and all the youth who did my camps this summer to come out and race.

“We had one last year, but the weather was poor so we had a low turnout. This year is quite good. We have lots of kids and lots of parents, so I’m pleased.”

The championship included solo kayak, tandem kayak, tandem canoe and stand-up paddleboard races. There was also a dragon boat race between the kids and parents, which the parents took by a few seconds.

Yukon first competed in flatwater racing at the Canada Summer Games in 2013. It seems like it won’t be the last time.

“I think it’s awesome. I’m really pleased with the numbers and the kids having fun and getting interested in competing. Hopefully they’ll stick around and grow to be paddling at the Canada Games and maybe nationals,” said Girouard. “I’m looking forward to that.

“The older kids can compete at the Canada Games next year and hopefully they stick with it.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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