About Paddling

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I’ve led canoeing expeditions in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, BC, the Yukon, NWT and Alaska, including the Paull, Churchill, Clearwater, Smoothstone, Sturgeon-weir, Seal, Big Salmon, Nahanni, Keele, Mountain, Toad/Liard, Gataga/Kechika, Omineca, Netson/ Rabbit, Turnagain, Stikine, Taku, Jennings, Tuchodi/Muskwa and Dease rivers.  I’ve guided sea kayak trips in Baja, Belize, Costa Rica, Haida Gwaii, the Central and North coast of BC, and Vancouver Island, including the Broken Group, Discovery, Gulf, Deer Group and Nootka islands, and Clayoquot, Barkley, Desolation and Nootka sounds.  I’ve also taught whitewater canoeing and kayaking on the Churchill, Montreal, Gold, Oyster, Campbell, Puntledge, Cowichan, Nanaimo and Nimpkish rivers.

Pakboat amidst ice

In 2004 I established a relationship with Canada Portable Kayaks Inc. , the Canadian distributor of PakBoats , and I paddled a PakCanoe 170 on the Gataga/Kechika and Tatshenshini/Alsek river expeditions. Check out my photo gallery and both websites to learn more about the wave of the future for wilderness canoeists, a heavy-duty folding boat that really performs.



My highest profile “hired gun” contract was with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and David Suzuki Foundation’s Boreal Rendezvous in August of 2003. I guided celebrity canoe trips on the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan and Dease River in northern BC, catering to the likes of Tom King, Candace Savage, Brian Deines and Jimmy and Mia Rankin.

Cedar Strip Canoe leaving in the early morning

In 2005, CPAWS SK asked me to captain a team in the Saskatchewan Centennial Canoe Quest - a 1,000 km voyageur canoe race down the Churchill and Sturgeon-weir rivers. Our goal was to make connections with northerners and to support boreal forest conservation initiatives in the area. It was an amazing journey, to say the least. See the photo gallery for images from the SCCQ, and visit the CPAWS website to find out more about boreal forest conservation efforts in northern Saskatchewan.

As a freelance outdoor adventure guide and paddling instructor, Iím always interested in hearing about your expedition and paddling dreams, and how I might help you achieve them.  I will guide hiking trips and paddling expeditions of all kinds. I will also teach private clinics on lakewater and whitewater canoeing, sea and whitewater kayaking, as well as bush craft, camping and soft skills for outdoor leaders.  See my experience and qualifications listed below. Contact me for more information.

Pullout from Whitehorse

The Yukon River Quest is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, 740 km down the Yukon River, from Whitehorse to Dawson City. In 2006, Michele Genge and I paddled a tandem canoe to a finish in the money, along with a number of SCCQ 2005 racers, including Team Kisseynew – Denesuline Dalutweh, the voyageur canoe crew that finished second overall. They were kind enough to offer us ground support when we lost ours. A big thanks to Martin, Ron and all the guys! Visit the Kisseynew Canoe Company online and find out how to purchase the fastest voyageur canoe in the land. There are some great images from the race on their site, and some more in my photo gallery .


Paddling Qualifications

Seasonal 2002 - 2019

Strathcona Park Lodge
Box 2160
Campbell River, BC
V9W 5C5
(250) 286-3122

Seasonal 1993 - 2019              

Contract work with private groups, commercial companies, community and conservation organizations, educational institutions and local paddling clubs

Seasonal 1988 - 1992

Churchill River Canoe Outfitters
Box 1110
La Ronge, SK
S0J 1L0
(306) 625-4420

Related Certifications, Skills and Experience

  • CPR Level C - October 2020
  • Advanced Wilderness First Aid Ė Feb. 2021
  • SKGABC Guide Examiner
  • SKGABC Level 4 Sea Kayak Guide
  • Paddle Canada Level 2 Skills Sea Kayak Instructor
  • Canadian Power and Sail Squadron ROC (Maritime)Examiner
  • RCABC Master Instructor
  • RCABC Moving Water Instructor Trainer
  • RCABC Lakewater Instructor Trainer
  • RCABC Canoe Tripping Instructor Trainer
  • RCABC Day and Expedition Canoe Guide Instructor Trainer
  • Paddle Canada Moving Water Canoe Instructor Advanced Tandem and Solo
  • Paddle Canada Moving Water Canoe Instructor Trainer Intermediate Tandem and Solo
  • Paddle Canada Lake Canoe Instructor Advanced Tandem and Solo
  • Paddle Canada Lake Canoe Instructor Trainer Intermediate Tandem and Solo
  • Paddle Canada Canoe Tripping Instructor Trainer Advanced Tandem and Solo
  • Whitewater Canada Kayak Instructor Level 1
  • Swiftwater Rescue Technician
  • Alpine Ski Instructor Level 1
  • PADI Open Water Diver Certificate
  • Restricted Radio Operator's Certificate (Maritime)
  • Unrestricted Class 4 driver's licence
  • Extensive leadership training and experience
  • Wilderness survival training - Comox Valley Search and Rescue
  • Extensive experience in researching and organizing expeditions and then writing about them
    (see list of publications)

Laurelís Paddling Links

Laurel's Paddling Photo Gallery

Strathcona Park Lodge

Canadian Outdoor Leadership Program (COLT)

Canada Portable Kayaks (and PakCanoes)

PakCanoes and Kayaks in the US

Churchill River Canoe Outfitters

Canoe Saskatchewan

Town of La Ronge

Paddle Manitoba

Recreational Canoe Association of British Columbia (RCABC)

Whitewater Kayak Association of BC (WWKABC)

Vancouver Island Paddling Society

Warm Rapids Inn and Outdoor Adventure Resort

Association of Canadian Sea Kayak Guides (ACSKG)  

Wilderness First Aid

Canadian Outrigger Racing Association (CORA)

Sea Kayaking in Haida Gwaii

Whitewater and Surf Kayaking on Vancouver Island

Coastal BC

Wilderness Canoe Association (WCA)

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society

Rapid Magazine

Paddler Magazine



Paddle Canada

Yukon River Quest

La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge

Bear Mountain Canoes

Na Wahine O Ke Kai

Kauai World Challenge

Charging down Deadman's Canyon on the Porcupine River  
Churchill Slalom course on Mosquito Rapids
Emmeline Lake on the Smoothstone River
Seakayaking near Nootka Island
Hand Island, Kayaks in the Broken Group

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