By KATHY JOHNSOIN
The eighth annual Shelburne Kayak Festival went off without a hitch on the Aug. 16 weekend, attracting 42 paddling enthusiasts to the Shelburne waterfront and other Shelburne County locations for clinics, guided tours, social events, and unparalleled kayaking opportunities.
“All-in-all, I would say it was a success,” said Andrew Steffensen, chairman of the Shelburne Kayak Festival Society board of directors. “Everything went very well. We had the Friday night meet and greet and had a nice barbecue with everybody, a nice supper at Christ Church catered by Nova Scotia Rollies, and after the festival we had a coaches and board appreciation lunch at Boxing Rock where we all sat down, put our heads together” to come up with some “initial ideas of what we can do better for next year. Some minor tweaks. How to maybe make it a bit bigger.”
Steffensen said organizers were “impressed with the number of young people” at the festival this year. “People in their mid 20 to 30s as opposed to 40s to 50s,” he said. The number of participants was also an increase over last year’s 28.
New events at this year’s festival included an introduction to tidal currents clinic and Paddle Canada Level-1 sea kayak training.
Steffensen agreed kayaking is a growing sport; one he and his wife got into after moving to the Shelburne area and taking the try-out session offered by the Municipality of Shelburne. He became involved with the board of directors after being introduced to the society by a co-worker.
“I’m just a novice, a beginner. I leave the instruction and actual course to the experts and myself and some of the other board members want to do the administrative side and make sure all the paper work is done…
a lot of people bring different skill sets. Everybody contributes and helps out.”