Board of directors
MEET OUR VOLUNTEER Team
Eric has been a paddler for many years. First as a canoeist, but upon finding that kayaks are more durable for the water he likes to swim in, he took a 5 hours crash course at the Gull in 2016. He quickly got an unreliable roll and has been finding new ways to wreck his kayak ever since. For those that don’t know, after 7 roll attempts he does tend to look for a t-rescue. Parts of his sanity (and paint from various boats) pepper the continent but his new plastic love has only seen the Ottawa, Mississauga, Gull, Grand, and lock 28 on the Trent-Severn. With a knack for bringing pretty good food to our potlucks, he looks forward to being as friendly and welcoming to new members, as he has been fortunate to have experienced.
Leah fell in love with whitewater paddling when she first stepped into a kayak more than 22 years ago. Since then, her passion for the sport has only grown, taking her to exotic paddling destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Chile, as well as the Grand Canyon of the Colorado and countless other rivers in Canada and the USA. In 2007 Leah achieved the distinction of being the eldest participant ever to complete Esprit’s W.I.L.D. Program (Whitewater Intensive Leadership Development). Leah has been an active member of KWP for more than fifteen years, and thoroughly enjoys sharing her river knowledge and enthusiasm for paddling with others. Now retired and living with her husband, Wayne in the Madawaska Valley, Leah enjoys paddling much of the year, and also embraces gardening, hiking, and in winter, sports such as cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Leah continues to share her love of river running with other paddlers as a trip leader for KWP, teaching her nephews to kayak each summer, and encouraging others to try new lines to challenge themselves on the river. Always eager for the next adventure, you will find her kayaking or canoeing down local runs, paddling the gnar gnar and exploring new rivers.
Chris joined KWP in 2019 and spends most of his time at the Minden White Water Preserve. He has paddled flat water for many years and has worked in the outdoor adventure industry off and on since 2003. In 2015 he took a job managing a little outdoor shop in Minden. They specialized in whitewater gear sales and lessons, which were done at the Minden White Water Preserve, just a paddle stroke from the store. By chance, the PanAm games happened to be held in Minden that same year and Chris instantly became obsessed with learning to paddle whitewater. He set upon teaching himself to kayak by watching endless YouTube instructionals and practicing obsessively. In 2016 he achieved his L2/I2 instructors certification and has a passion for helping others achieve their goals. When he’s not crying for his mommy while getting an unplanned, yet epic surf in left-side Horseshoe (Ottawa), Chris enjoys wilderness survival, wild edibles, hiking, X-country skiing, wild ice skating adventures and really anything to get away from this soul sucking screen! For the record, he makes the best spicy pickled wild leeks.
I started my whitewater journey in 2020, and immediately fell in love with this unique sport. I received a lot of help and encouragement from KWP members and that meant a lot to me, especially at the beginning when I was a novice paddler. I hope to encourage more people to try the sport, organize fun, safe and accommodating events, especially for those who are newer to the sport, because one’s experience at this stage will determine if they’ll become a lifelong paddler or not. I hope to help make river safety training more accessible to new paddlers too. What I’m proud of this year: finally getting my whitewater roll and having a clean run on the Ottawa Main. Where I paddle often: Ottawa, Minden, Madawaska. My favourite river snack: pineapple, when someone else is carrying it in
Fresh to the whitewater world, Paul began his paddling journey with a sea kayak near the end of the 2019 summer. After getting caught up in a small storm on Pigeon Lake on one of his first longer paddles, he quickly realized water was a lot more fun when it started to move. In early 2020 he enrolled in a week-long intro to whitewater course hosted by Madawaska Kanu Centre on the beautiful Madawaska River and was immediately hooked. With some advice given from his instructor, he reached out to join KWP. His favourite runs are the Gatineau, the Ottawa and his local run at the Gull. If not trying to find a way onto the water (or out of Vampire) you can bet he’s hiding in his beehives or wandering somewhere new with his dog.
Growing up in northern Ontario, Wayne developed a passion for the outdoors very early in life. His love of whitewater paddling started in 2004. Since then, most holidays have involved paddling, exploring rivers in Ontario and Quebec, the Southeastern United States, Mexico, Chile and Costa Rica. In 2019 Wayne and Leah retired and moved to the Madawaska Valley to be closer to the rivers and outdoors they both love. When not paddling, you can expect to find Wayne taking photographs, hiking, foraging in the woods, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Having been quite involved with organizing kayak festivals in the past and volunteering for Whitewater Ontario, especially for River Advocacy, Wayne has decided to step up and help out on the KWP Board with Communication. If you have anything you want to share with the club in a newsletter, be it a story or photos, send it to Wayne, by email, at KWPsecretary@gmail.com.
Chantal has been white water kayaking since her early 30’s and is not looking to stop anytime soon. Whether on the river or at the campsite she is easy to spot by her matching tie-dye kayaks. The Karma or the rock star are quite colourful to match her own bright personality. When not on the water she loves spending time with family and pets, and in the winter you can often find her shredding on her local ski hill. Chantal takes great pride in organizing fun trips for KWP and has worked very hard to bring additional benefits to our club. She works hard to make sure we are all on the river on time, that we follow covid protocols and that we make it to the OWL Pontoon in time for post paddling cookies. Chantal is at home on the Gatineau River or the Ottawa. She is truly passionate about whitewater kayaking and can talk about it for hours.