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Kayakers’ workshop being planned here


The owners of Rainy Lake Boatworks believe they have something to share: a beautiful location on the water, knowledge of the sights and history of Rainy Lake, and years of kayaking expertise.

And after the success of their one-day kayakers’ symposium last summer, they’ve decided to make a weekend of it this time around.

“This is our second-annual, bigger, better version of the event,” said Caren Fagerdahl, who operates the paddle sports outfitter with her husband, Eric.

The workshop, entitled “Paddling on the Voyageur Route,” will take place July 21-22, and is open to novices and seasoned kayakers alike.

The Fagerdahls, who have been in business for about four years, want to use the event to promote their favourite sport to people here.

“Kayaking is becoming so big all over North America and we’re hoping it will take off the same way in Fort Frances,” Caren Fagerdahl said.

The Fagerdahls came up with the idea of hosting a workshop after attending a larger symposium in Rossport over the past few years. With time, they believe theirs will draw the same numbers as that one.

“We’re sort of hoping to do the same sort of thing and to build on it every year, and attract people from other places, as well,” Fagerdahl said, noting that among the 15 already registered are people from as far away as Atikokan and even Rochester, Mn.

The weekend will kick off with the kayakers in the water on Sand Bay. That is, if the weather co-operates, Fagerdahl said.

“For beginners, we need to have fairly flat water,” she noted.

If the water is too rough, the group will take off from Windy Point instead, she said. “Safety is a number-one priority for us,” she stressed.

Saturday will end with a pasta dinner for the group, and possibly a slide show of kayaking locations across the world to follow. Sunday’s activities will conclude with a group paddle to the mermaid out on Rainy Lake.

Instructors for the workshop once again will include Darrell Makin, a professional kayaker who recently returned from paddling in the Bahas. Makin’s wife also be teaching along with the Fagerdahls’ daughter, Erika.

Despite Makin’s extensive travels, this area remains one of his favourite kayaking spots, Fagerdahl said.

“It’s great to hear someone who’s kayaked all over the world say how much they love Rainy River,” she enthused. “We know it’s the best but it’s nice to know that other people think it’s wonderful, as well.”

Registration for the weekend workshop is on a first-come, first-served basis, with about 10 spots still available as of press time Wednesday.

The cost is $75 with your own kayak, or $135 without. The deadline to register is this Sunday (July 15). For more information, call Rainy Lake Boatworks at 274-6387.

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