On clear, warm, bright sunny days Vancouver’s waterways come alive. Truth to be told, if it floats, Vancouverites will paddle it! I have said it before, and I will repeat it, exploring the city by water is a uniquely Vancouver experience and one that should not be missed. Imagine paddling under the Burrard Street Bridge or viewing Science World and Yaletown from the ocean. From the scenic fjord of Indian Arm to the calm, protected waters of the Nicomekl River there are countless local paddling routes available for those who dare to don a life jacket. Views of sandy beaches, rocky shores, towering skyscrapers, quirky float homes and ocean-going tankers are abundant, all part of a quick escape from life on land.
I fondly remember my first time in a sea kayak. Accustomed to canoeing, the confines of the spray skirt felt almost claustrophobic, yet the sensation of being lower in the water made me feel closer to nature. As the waves lapped at the sides of my boat, I moved almost effortlessly with the swell and the current. As if on cue, a harbour seal poked his head up, and I was hooked!
Of course, there is more to paddling than meets the eye and I would strongly encourage beginners to either take an introductory paddling course or register for a guided session. Although a high level of fitness is not necessary for an afternoon paddle, Mother Nature can be temperamental and changing weather conditions can make a quick paddle in English Bay or Deep Cove more challenging than one first bargained for.
Enter the Ecomarine Paddlesport Centres. Currently, in its 38th year of instruction, Ecomarine offers ocean kayaking and stand up paddleboarding programs to schools, groups and individuals throughout the community. To date, Ecomarine has successfully launched over 30,000 individuals. With a reputation for ensuring excellence in instruction, Ecomarine can provide both a fun as well as safe first experience with ocean kayaking or stand up paddleboarding. Whether you want to get yourself started in one of their top-rated beginner programs, brush up on old skills, or pick out a new paddle Ecomarine is the place to go.
Ready for your quick escape?
Check out the Ecomarine website for a complete list of upcoming lessons and programs. Rentals are also available.
Looking for launch sites?
BC Marine Trails features an interactive map with an up to date list of launch sites in the Vancouver area and throughout the province.