The extreme athletes at Feral Kiteboarding School harness and fuse the raw powers of wind and water to fuel kiteboarding sessions. Driven by a passion for the outdoor lifestyle, they have also studied the demands of their environment to design apparel and equipment for the sport. Lessons with a BKSA- and IKO-certified instructor take place along the sandy beaches and shallow waterways of White Rock. Wave-cresting staffers also specialize in introducing beginners to the pastime, organizing equipment packages complete with trainer kites, instructional DVDs, and jars big enough for students to trap their own gusts of feral wind.
The non-profit Burnaby Canoe and Kayak's nationally certified coaches impart paddling techniques to all ages and skill levels on peaceful Burnaby Lake. The lake is nestled in a wildlife sanctuary where birdwatchers often glimpse great blue herons, belted kingfishers, and airplanes and the scenic North Shore Mountains peer over its waters.
The organization's fleet—one of the largest in Canada—even encompasses the War Canoe, a uniquely Canadian boat that holds 15 paddlers. Students can hone their skills during drop-in sessions or during more structured summer camps and sprint programs, where members develop strength, endurance, and technique.
The abundance of natural splendour surrounding Burnaby's small lake inspired the creation of Deer Lake Boat Rentals. With blue herons standing tall in the waters, eagles soaring overhead, and turtles playing duck-duck-goose with Canadian geese, the region is teeming with wildlife. Fourteen years under the current ownership and opened in 1972, Deer Lake Boat Rentals rent kayaks, rowboats, pedal boats, and canoes to make the lake and its wildlife accessible to families. They are also equally focused on safety, so they provide all the requisite necessities, including lifejackets and staff a skilled crew ready to assist in any way necessary.
The trees that shade the banks of the River of Golden Dreams have been there longer than anyone can remember, lining a mostly undeveloped area that continues to attract visitors to its natural spoils. Along with Atla Lake—which remains free of oil slicks and pollution due to bans on water-skiing, wakeboarding, and cigarette breaks for working beavers—the area still thrives with wildflowers dotting its riverbanks and bald eagles flying overhead. For the past 25 years, Backroads Whistler has done its share to help keep the environment pristine by hosting a variety of nonpolluting recreation, which include paddling sports, fishing, and cycling. Paddle past distant snow-capped mountains and bike along winding woodland trails on unguided, semiguided, or guided tours, the latter of which includes plenty of tidbits on Whistler's history and wildlife. Canoe, kayak, and boat rentals grant further access to the lake, while aluminum fishing boats come loaded with gear for catch-and-release sessions where guests can swap kelp recipes with 3- to 5-pound trout. Around nightfall, twilight tours drift down the river as wild birds and black bears emerge to greet the evening.
Outer Island Expeditions' fleet of kayaks and boats safely cruises at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour through frothy crests ebbing amid the striking sights and wildlife of the San Juan islands. Venturing as far as 50 miles into Canadian waters, whale-watching excursions foster personal rapport between patrons and boat-side orcas, gray whales, or humpback whales trying to learn human etiquette for future espionage missions. Tours of Stuart Island's Turn Point lighthouse begin aboard a 22-foot Kodiak skiff, which buoys patrons through 16 miles of waters inhabited by sea lions and porpoises before they disembark and hike to the lighthouse's historical museum. Fishing charters set sail in search of ocean creatures and potable salt water from all of Outer Island Expeditions' four launch points: Smuggler's Villa Resort, Semiahmoo Resort, Lopez Island, and The Willows on Lummi Island.
Operated by the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival Society, Dragon Zone Dragon Boat Paddling Club makes it easy for people to experience the ancient art of dragon boating, as well as many other types of paddle sports. In addition to 10- and 20-foot dragon boats, the club equips guests with marathon canoes, six-person outriggers, one-person outriggers, and kayaks.
For those who are new to dragon boating, Dragon Zone Dragon Boat Paddling Club offers four-week classes that introduce basic techniques and get students used to working as a team. More specialized workshops supplement foundational skills with more advanced instruction, which is especially useful for anyone who decides to join a racing team.