The Nelson Paddling Club  was founded in 1991. Since then it has been a steady presence at Lakeside Park, offering classes, outings, and boat storage.

The 2019 Sprint Team season is off to a great start. Under the leadership of past club president and senior coach Jason Rusu, head coach Heather Potkins and senior coach Lauren Heckley the sprint team continues to grow and expand now offering a Learn to Train Program, Regatta Ready Program and High performance Program. 

The different youth program practices run from Monday to Saturday. We meet at the Nelson Rowing Club pavilion at Lakeside Park in Nelson BC. 

The Nelson Paddling club continues to offer Adult Programming and this year will be offering new a Master's skill development program and a new drop in community paddle night where community members can come out and try different types of paddling on our beautiful Kootenay lake! The Nelson Paddling Club's adult learn to paddle program will continue to run this season.

The Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club provides an inclusive, safe and welcoming space for everyone to participate in sport and physical activity regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. We welcome individuals with physical disabilities and strive to adapt programming to individual athletes needs.

Upcoming Events

2019 Programs


Latest News: Cardboard kayaks take over Nelson’s Lakeside beach

Posted Saturday 10 August 2019

Cardboard and duct tape.

That’s all you are allowed to use, and you have to make the kayak in the park just before the race.

On Monday, racers paddled their kayaks down the lake and around a pylon and back. Many didn’t make it – they floundered and sank, often slowly and hilariously.

The event is organized by the Nelson Paddling Club and sponsored by Columbia Basin trust and Telus. This year there were three race categories: kids, families, and adults.

There were 71 entries this year, up from 46 last year, according to Heather Potkins who organized the event along with Tessa Timmermans and Carson VanHorne.

Frances Tait and Fyn Taylor won the kids’ race.

“I’m feeling really good,” said Fyn after the big win.

“Like a champion,” said Frances.

What was the winning feature of their kayak design?

“The point at the front,” they said. “And it was waterproof. There were no holes.”

See a video of the event on the online version of this story at

 Credit: Bill Metcaf, Nelson Star

Click here for older news

Featured Coach: Heather Potkins

"My passion for coaching lies in working with youth to help them dicover their own potential, and in helping them build their strength and self confidence through sport."

Heather began coaching in the summer of 2016, she has been paddling with the Nelson Paddling Club as an athlete in the Nelson Paddling Club's Sprint program for the last five years. Heather has competed on the Provincial team since 2017 and has raced Nationally at the 2017 Canada Summer Games and the 2017 and 2018 Nationals. Her best result is 6th in the C1 1000m 2018 Nationals. This year Heather is the Head Coach for the Nelson Paddling Club. She will be running the Regatta Ready Program, the community paddle night, Summer Camps and private lessons. Heather is Canoe Kids Certified, Level 1 advanced entry level competative coach trained, working with disabled athlete certified and is currently studying Earth Science and Biology at the University of Ottawa. She is currently training with the Rideau Canoe Club during the school year with the long term goal of becoming an outdoor education teacher.

Our Sponsors

Thank you to the Nelson Athletic Association for the loan of Buoy markers to set up
our sprint distance courses! And thank you to Hellman Canoes and Kayaks for their continued support of our sprint team with boat repairs and Tech apparel ware!