Fort Smith Paddling Club

Paddling, Promoting, and Protecting the Slave River
Home to the Slave River Paddlefest


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Slave River Hydro is dead!

Posted by fskayak on November 5, 2010 at 12:27 AM Comments comments (0)

Amazing news! 


Smith's Landing First Nation has announced that they are not interested in pursuing a hydro project on the Slave River.  ATCO and TransCanada have been forced to leave town!


See the details here: Oct 19, SRJ Article


Paddlefest 2010 a huge success!

Posted by fskayak on August 5, 2010 at 5:24 PM Comments comments (103)

Slave River Paddlefest 2010 was a huge success - thanks to everyone who helped put on the event, and also thanks to all you folks who travelled so far to be here! Thanks also to our sponsors and our partners, Smith's Landing First Nation and Wood Buffalo National Park.  We couldn't have done it without you!

Our goal of increasing the number of people using and enjoying the Slave River is being met.  Our numbers went from 53 paddlers last year to 173 paddlers this year.  At all our events combined, we had about 500 spectators.  The addition of the flatwater flotilla and voyageur canoe race added an exicing new element to our festival, and we are grateful to Smith's Landing First Nation for the grand welcome they gave us at the feast on Friday night.  The ceremony and sharing of cultural games was really special.

I don't have photos of everything yet, but here are some highlights. (more photos coming soon - if you have great photos from the flotilla, canoe race or rodeo, please get them to me - thanks!).  The Slave River Journal also has two great slideshows from the event:

Pre-week canoe trip to Roller Coaster at Cassette Rapids with 23 people

Smiths Landing First Nation's winning voyageur canoe team

Paddlers and locals playing hand games at the Friday feast

Dene log push on Friday night

Kids playing piano keys in the bay on Saturday morning

Beachball team race through the playground wave train

Ruth Bournes from Australia surfing at the playground

Getting ready for the swim race through the rapids

The start of the canoe surfing and rescue competition

Gord Rothnie surfing with Marylan Yanick and Val Rosen

Leif Anderson taking Louise Cumming in the duo

And this is what Molly's Nipple looks like at super low water, in case you're wondering...

More photos and galleries will be coming soon.  All in all, a really fantastic event.  We're really getting there on our goal of building community based around a love for the river.  See you all next year.

PADDLEFEST 2011 - July 29-August 2, 2011 - mark your calendars! 

Friday Fitz flotilla and feast... details here

Posted by fskayak on July 20, 2010 at 1:39 AM Comments comments (0)

For event details, please see THIS POSTER.


Join us for the flotilla, the race, or the afternoon of Dene Games, hiking, and a community feast. Dress in your best historical (voyageur or aboriginal) costume - there will be some great costume prizes given out!


Registration check-in for the Paddlefest weekend events will be at Fitz this afternoon as well, so come on out, check-in, and stay for the afternoon.  The Paddlefest opening blessing will also be at Fitz in the evening, right before supper.  Supper will be served at 6:00.


This is an alcohol-free event.  We can't wait to see you in Fitz!  Fitz is about a 20 km drive south of Fort Smith on the highway.


Thanks to our partners and supporters for making this event happen: Smith's Landing First Nation, Wood Buffalo National Park, Town of Fort Smith, and all of the fantastic local businesses who donated prizes!

Pre-festival event details!

Posted by fskayak on July 20, 2010 at 1:17 AM Comments comments (0)

Paddlefest pre-festival events start this Saturday, July 24 with a group flatwater canoe trip to Roller Coaster at Cassette Rapids.


Pre-week events include kayak clinics, a canoe course, and guided interpretive hikes to each set of rapids.  Please see our ad in the Slave River Journal, or check out the


Third-prize Canada Day float!

Posted by fskayak on July 2, 2010 at 1:36 PM Comments comments (99)

Our Canada Day float to promote Paddlefest and the club was a success - we won third prize in the "organizations" category.  We had two kids holding the Paddlefest banner, then a quad pulling a trailer with a raft on it, and that was in turn pulling a canoe with a couple of kids in it. Behind that, we had a bicycle pulling a little kids' kayak with a girl in it.  We also had several walkers and cyclists.  We were all dressed up in pfds and helmets - even the kids - it looked pretty cool!


Congratulations to everyone who participated!  Special thanks to Karl for the quad, Owen and Janna for the raft, Cam and Melissa for the trailer, and Don and Sandy for the canoe.  Also thanks to Fields for the free candy they gave us to throw - thanks guys!

Kris and Sarah

Hunter and Conall in the canoe

Finn and Olie picked up the prize for our team

Paddlefest Registration Live!

Posted by fskayak on June 1, 2010 at 12:03 PM Comments comments (91)

The Paddlefest 2010 Registration form is live here!

Registration for the whole event costs $60, and includes a T-shirt, chili supper, steak supper, hotdog lunches, and pancake breakfast.

If you just want to register in the Hay Camp to Fitz flotilla or the World Kayak Throwdown, there is no charge, but please fill out the form anyways so we know how many people are coming. 

Registration closes July 18 (so we can order the food that week).  Even locals should register in advance this year - thanks!

Click here for the registration page. Hope to see you at Paddlefest this year!

Paddlefest 2010 schedule online now!

Posted by fskayak on May 16, 2010 at 2:26 PM Comments comments (98)

The draft 2010 Paddlefest schedule is online now!


Click here for the schedule


The main events and fun competitions (including the Throwdown rodeo) will be on the weekend from July 30-Aug 2, 2010. There will be many activities in the week(s) leading up to Paddlefest though, so if you can stay for a week or longer, that would be great! Pre-week events include group canoe trips, group river trips for paddlers of all abilities (schedule to come), a beginner kayak clinic, a youth kayak clinic and guided interpretive hikes to the rapids. It's a long drive - come early and stay for a while!


New this year - online registration will be open from June 1 - July 18th.  Please register on time - we need to know in advance how many people to expect so we can order enough food - thanks!

Paddlefest at Northern House

Posted by fskayak on April 23, 2010 at 10:34 PM Comments comments (111)

Kirsten showing a Vancouver youngster how to sit in a kayak

Kirsten was in Vancouver on April 17 and 18th to promote the Slave River Paddlefest at Canada's Northern House, the north's pavillion from the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Kirsten was participating in Northwest Territories Outdoor Adventure days, a showcase of outdoor adventure opportunities in the Northwest Territories. Around 4000 people visited the house over the weekend - thanks again to NWT Tourism for another opportunity to promote our beautiful river and town! Vancouverites were excited to learn about life and paddling opportunities in the NWT.

Calgary Outdoor Adventure Show

Posted by fskayak on March 30, 2010 at 1:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Ben and Jason promoting Paddlefest in Calgary - photo by Eric Albert

This weekend saw Ben and Jason down in Calgary promoting the Slave River Paddlefest at the Calgary Outdoor Adventure Show.  They showed videos, talked to hundreds of people, handed out flyers, and let people know about Paddlefest and paddling on the Slave.   Hopefully some of those Calgary folks will join us at Paddlefest this year (or next).  The booth looks awesome guys!  (Ben's Paddlefest shirt even matches the curtains...) Thanks Ben and Jason, and thanks to Industry, Tourism and Investment for their support!

Waterwalker Film Festival in Fort Smith, May 7-8

Posted by fskayak on March 22, 2010 at 6:18 PM Comments comments (2)

Photo from the film "Terra Antarctica"


In cooperation with the Wood Buffalo National Park, our club will be bringing the Waterwalker Film Festival.  It will be on Friday May 7th, and Saturday May 8th, at the WBNP theatre, at 7 pm both nights. Tickets will be free (at the door).


Paddle Canada's Waterwalker Film Festival is a tribute to the late Bill Mason, the great conservationist, canoeist and filmmaker.  The festival includes "Let the Slave Run," best action film (filmed on the Slave River rapids), "Finding Farley," and the series "This is Canoeing" among many other fantastic paddling films.