Out on the waters

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A person rowing a boat on Wascana lake on a sunny day. The Legislative Building is visible in the background.
This looks very calming, but only until your phone falls into the lake. Blake Handley via Flickr

In the prairies, being close to water is a rare joy

Did you know you can canoe, kayak, and paddle board all on Wascana Lake? We interviewed Eric Sallas, staff member at Wascana Centre Canoe and Kayak Rentals, and got some information on how you can enjoy these activities on Wascana Lake.  

Kicking things off with available gear, you can rent single or double kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards. The rentals come with life jackets, paddles, and safety kits. The prices are per hour, per boat rentals. Single kayaks are $15 an hour, while double kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle boards are $20 an hour, and all rentals available on a first-come-first-serve basis. You have to fill out an online waiver, get set up with life jackets, paddle, run over the rules, and then you can be on your way. The rentals are not supervised; you just go on your own. You are free to hit the water no matter your experience level. 

 With gear in place and fees sorted, it is important to know what to expect when heading out on one of these activities. “It depends on the day and the weather,” said Sallas. “If it is a very calm day with little winds, it should be fairly easy once you are on the water. You just paddle your way around. If it is a calm day, it makes your experience calmer. If it is windy, it may be more of a struggle going around the lake.” Sounds pretty fun and easy to handle! If it is your first time ever paddling or have limited experience, you can also get a referral to Wascana Racing Canoe Club (WRCC) which offers a Learn to Paddle program. 

Now you know how you can go on the water and also where to get some lessons. But why should you go paddling on Wascana Lake? Sallas, for one, loves kayaking. “I used to be a sprint kayaker with the WRCC. Later I started working here. My favourite thing about kayaking on Wascana Lake is when it is a calm day, I like hugging the shoreline a lot and getting nice and close with nature.”  If getting involved with nature was not enough motivation to try this out, common feedback from those who give it a shot tend to love it because it is a very different activity that we do not get to enjoy much in Saskatchewan. “The feedback is very positive due to the fact we are from Saskatchewan and are mostly on land. There is very little ocean nearby. So, getting the option to be on the water is something that is unique compared to other places!” said Sallas.  

Have I convinced you yet to go and try out this activity? I myself love to paddle board and I go on Wascana Lake quite a bit. One comment that I always get from people is “Aren’t you scared that you are going to fall in?” Well, it does get better with practice.  

According to Sallas, “There is a risk of course. It normally comes right at the dock. This is when you are shifting your weight from a solid object to a moving object which is the boat. Once you are in the boat tipping is very minimal, especially in a kayak. They are extremely stable boats because you are in a wide boat, and you are low in the boat compared to a canoe. The risk of tipping is small. Comparatively, paddle boarding is riskier and you want a fair amount of experience before paddle boarding.”  

With all of this in mind, it might just be time to give these sports a try. With limited risks and a whole lot of room for adventure and fun, hopefully some readers out there will go out and try something new!  

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