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  • Biannual Whitewater Paddling Event - May 17-19th, 2024

Palmer River Fest

This hallmark paddling community celebration takes place on May 17th, 18th & 19th. Take a clinic to improve your skills, absorb knowledge from industry vendors, connect with other paddlers and families and enjoy the live music entertainment on Saturday night.

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Just Want to Hang Out

LEGENDARY Biannual Whitewater Festival – May 17th, 18th & 19th, 2024

Join us for our exciting semi-annual weekend festival that connects our paddling community together, refreshes our paddling skills and, supports Paddler Co-op’s campaign to purchase the Paddler Co-op Property.  Join a clinic with friends to kick start your paddling progression for the year with the incredible instructors at Spring Palmer River Fest!

 What a typical festival weekend looks like:

  • Friday arrival, registration, welcome & music @ 4 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday registration @ 7:30 – 8:45 a.m.
  • Saturday & Sunday: 4 instructional whitewater clinics (high quality, safely facilitated) Saturday a.m./p.m. & Sunday a.m./p.m.)
  • Packafting! A fun introduction to whitewater
  • Hiking/Medicinal Plant Walks! Explore the Madawaska Valley from shore!
  • Kid-friendly whitewater canoe & kayak clinics
  • On-site camping Friday and Saturday night (tent only – we’ll be tight for space!)
  • Live music Saturday night – featuring The Valley Cats
  • Local food (bring your cash)
  • Radical raffle: sweet prizes & swag!
  • PRF proceeds go towards securing the Paddler Co-op property for the future

New This Year:

  • All proceeds from this event will go toward Paddler Co-op’s campaign to purchase the Co-op Property. Learn more here.
  • You asked, we delivered, this year we have separate Intermediate and Advanced clinics in all disciplines!
  •  A new clinic offering: Canoe Stroke Refinement and Rolling Clinic. Join for an on-water Saturday with stroke refinement in the morning and rolling & bracing in the afternoon. PLUS you have the option of joining the down river trip (a.k.a. The Day Run on the Lower Madawaska) on Sunday. Camping and Saturday lunch are included with this clinic.
  • Friday Fun Day: Join us Friday evening as a fellow paddler shares a once in a lifetime trip and live music until 11:00 pm

Perfect for EVERYONE: non-paddlers, brand new, experienced or expert paddlers! Who doesn’t like river fun, good music, good food, good friends new and old? Exactly!



May 2024  Palmer River Fest Itinerary



Registration outside office: 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Equipment Rental Pick up @ Boathouse: 5:00 – 8:00 pm

Merch Booth 5:30-8:00pm

Paddler Presentation: 8:00 – 9:00 pm

Live Music: 9:00 – 11:00 pm



Registration @ office: 7:30 -8:30 am 

Equipment Pick Up: 7:30-8:30 am

Walk on Rentals: 9:30 am – 10

Breakfast: 7:00 am & onward

AM Clinics: Canoe – 9:15 – 11:30

                     Kayak – 9:30 – 11:45

    Hiking -10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Lunch: 12:00 – 1:15 pm

PM Clinics: Canoe – 1:15 – 3:30 pm

                     Kayak – 1:30 – 3:45 pm

**Intermediate &Advanced clinics load boats on trailer**

Dinner: 4:30 – 6:00 pm

Merch Booth/Raffle tix: 4:00 – 6:00 pm

Talent Show: 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Raffle @ Stage: 6:15 – 7:00 pm

Music @ Stage: 7:30 – 11:30 pm

Quiet Hours: 12:00 am




Equipment Pick Up: 7:30-8:30 am

Walk on Rentals: 9-9:30 am

Breakfast: 7:00 am & on

Am Clinics: C – 9:15 – 11:30

                     K – 9:30 – 11:45

                     Day Run – 9:00 departure (drive yourself, carpool if possible, co-op will shuttle drivers back to Aumonds Bay)

      Hiking – 10:00 am – 2 pm

Lunch: DR pack lunch 

            12:00 – 1:15

PM Clinics: C – 1:15 – 3:30

                     K – 1:30 – 3:45

River Trip Return: 4:00 pm

Closing Ceremony: 4:15 – 4:30 pm

Gear Return: 3:30 pm – 4:15 pm

Merch Booth: all day!

Campsite Check out time: 5:30 pm

Meet your Palmer River Fest Instructors

Beth Jones- Beginner Solo Clinic

a person riding a wave on a raft in a body of water

Beth is thrilled to be back on the water and at the co-op this season! She is a flat water and moving water canoe instructor for both ORCKA and Paddle Canada as well as a wilderness canoe guide with over 25 years of experience in the paddling industry. She has certifications in wilderness rescue and first aid, as well as swift water rescue, auto extrication, silo rescue, heavy machinery rescue, and hazardous materials rescue. Beth is a lifelong member of Girl Guides of Canada and Scouts Canada, and works with many paddling clubs such as the Wilderness Canoe Association, Waterloo Wellington Canoe Club, Old Salts Canoe Club and the Guelph Kayak Club. When not on the water Beth is working as a ballet instructor and firefighter and spending time growing food in her garden.

Seb Lepine- Beginner Tandem Clinic

a man standing next to a river

Hello, Seb here! I’ve been paddling canoes for as long as I can remember and love being out on the water and in the outdoors in general. My paddling passion is whitewater canoeing, and I have been teaching it now for the past 12 years! I got my start teaching with the Royal Canadian Army Cadets and have been involved with a few different organizations since then, learning many different skills along the way. I’m always eager to pass along my knowledge and help refine skills whenever I can. See you on the water!

Emily Morgan- Intermediate Solo Clinic

a person sitting on a boat in the water

Hi I am Emily Morgan, I am a backcountry canoe guide. I took up solo canoeing in 2021 and have not looked back. I am going on 3 years of paddling at least one day a month. My goal is to get more people out on the water enjoying the unique places it can take you.

Lauren Richardson- Beginner Kayak Clinic

a man standing next to a body of water

Hey everyone I’m Lauren! I’m an undergrad student studying Biochemistry and Math at Queen’s. My love for the river started through family canoe trips when I was young, and I grew up in Ottawa where I learned to kayak with ORR at the pumphouse. Since then I’ve worked there as an instructor and have been paddling in the Ottawa valley whenever I can! This past summer I was on a long canoe trip in the Yukon with Camp Wanapitei (based in Temagami, ON), where I plan on working this summer. Super stoked to get to be a part of Palmer Fest this year and can’t wait to get out on the river with everyone!

Owen Ketcheson- Intermediate Kayak Clinic

a man riding a wave on top of a snow covered slope

My name is Owen Ketcheson and I have been whitewater kayaking for 8 years. I spent many summers kayaking at the Paddler Co-op when I was a kid and began to instruct at the Co-op 3 years ago. Over the past couple of years, I have been to many different countries to paddle and seen the amazing places that kayaking can bring you. I have learned so much during Palmer Fest’s over the years and I hope that I can provide the same experience for others! I’m stoked to get on the water, have a blast, and see some progression!

Maddie Long- Intermediate Kayak Clinic

Maddie has spent much of her life playing, learning, and working on the river. She has a background as a kayak instructor, raft guide on the Ottawa river, expedition guide in the Northwest Territories, and swift water rescue instructor. In the winter season, she works ski patrol at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia. Maddie grew up taking courses and instructing at Paddler Co-op, starting with the Kid Active program when she was 10 years old. She is a passionate instructor who loves sharing the river with others and she is stoked to be back instructing at the Co-op this season.

Adrian Meissner- Advanced Tandem Clinic

a person standing on top of a snow covered mountain

Hi, I’ve lived and paddled in Palmer Rapids for 25 years. I’m excited and grateful for the opportunity to participate in Palmer Fest this year. I will be dancing for rain daily in April and May, partly for good water levels but mostly so we can have campfires.

Andy Convrey- Advanced Solo Clinic

a man riding on the back of a boat in a body of water

In over 25 years of working on the river I have played various roles from guide to instructor, playboater, slalom racer, tripper, creeker, and now as a mentor to my three boys who are quickly becoming far better boaters than I!  Throughout all this, however, I mostly identify as an instructor.  From rank beginners to aspiring or seasoned instructors my role is meet the student where they are in their journey and help them move forward, regardless of their starting point.  Each paddler arrives with a specific set of skills, goals and deficiencies and I strive to hone in on where they are at and how to move the needle.  I am never concerned with immediate success but with laying the groundwork for continued success in the paddling adventure.

Matt Hamilton- Advanced Kayak Clinic

a young boy riding on a raft in a body of water

Around 40 years ago I started paddling at YMCA Camp Wanakita. They had a great paddling program that included whitewater paddling at the Gull River.  From then on, paddling has been a major part of my life.  I’m now a transplanted Ottawa river local.   I have been on the Canadian team since the 90’s, competing in both freestyle and slalom.  Kayak instruction has been a large part of my paddling life.  I was a long-time instructor and Keener coach at OKS.  I was a Learning Facilitator for Canoe Kayak Canada.  Currently, I am a competing member of the National Freestyle team.  I’m on the Canoe Kayak Canada Freestyle committee,  and the International Canoe Federation Freestyle committee where I work to steer the future of freestyle.  I do also have a day job working as a Paramedic for the County of Renfrew.   With all that I still manage to paddle over 100 days a year.

Wes Parker- Intermediate Tandem Clinic

a man and woman riding on the back of a boat in the water

Wes Parker learned to paddle white water at Palmer Rapids and has been coming back every summer since.  He has now guided over 400 days of river trips across 4 Canadian provinces, including several from our very own Paddler Co-op!   Wes has operated the tripping department and outdoor education centre at Camp Kandalore, and was a key fixture of our Co-op team for the 2023 Co-op season!  Wes is thrilled to be getting g back on the water with this years tandem boaters!

Steve Keating- Safety Boater

a man wearing a hat

Raised on a tiny island in a small town surrounded by too many people the outdoors has always been my happy place. As a licensed dolphin shaver and turtle shell waxer i found that these skills were easily transferable into outdoor education and communicating with teenagers in my current job. Paddling always presents new challenges along with many ah-haa moments and being able to share that with others brings me the ultimate joy.

More instructor bios coming soon…

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