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: Lauren Heckley

"The thing that always makes me most excited about working in sport with youth, is having an opportunity to create a team that everyone is proud to be a part of. I love taking time to develop team functioning, foster friendships, and have so much fun!"

Lauren's certifications include an undergraduate degree in Sport Psychology (with Honours), and her sport specific certifications include an Entry-Level Competitive Coach with Canoe Kayak BC, as well as T2T (in training) with Cross-Country BC.

She has been working as a coach for the last 4 years (4 in cross-country skiing, and 4 in canoe kayak). She absolutely love this work! It keeps her active, playful, and always humbled by how amazing the kids in our community are!

She was hired on with the original Nelson Kayak and Canoe Club, as the head coach, with zero experience in the sport. This was very daunting! But with her education, and experience as a high-performance biathlete, She was able to bring unique aspects to the role of head coach. She quickly fell in love with canoeing, and shortly after kayaking as well. She would say she is an intermediate in both sports! She has a unique perspective when it comes to teaching the sport, as she literally just learnt how to herself!!

Fun Fact #1: She was a high-performance biathlete growing up and got to experience some very cool things! She was able to compete in Europe, almost represent Canada at Youth and Junior Worlds (she was the alternate), and medal nationally a number of times.

Fun Fact #2: She is currently doing a masters degree in Counselling Psychology, through Athabasca University. She will be doing her practicum at the Women’s Centre in Nelson, and she is so excited to be able to help the women of our community as much as she can. 

This year Lauren will be working with the Regatta Ready Groups as well as the Adult Learn to Paddle Group.

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!