MEDICINE HAT, AB – One final float along the South Saskatchewan River for members of the Medicine Hat Paddling Club on Saturday.
The Club held their annual ‘Hat, Hat Regatta’ which featured a two-hour paddle while wearing fun hats to wind up the paddling season.
Greg Heebner is a member of the Paddling Club, and said those on kayaks had to deal with this summer’s low water levels and a strong wind on Saturday.
“It’s that time of year where the water is a little low,” said Heebner. “You have to read the river and get down it, follow the channels. A little windy today, and that’s good and that’s bad. It can push you sideways, but it can also push you along.”
According to organizers, 22 paddlers took off from the boat launch at Echo Dale at around 12:00 pm and drifted down the river.
During the event, an additional five paddlers joined the group around the Redcliff area to set the final numbers at 27 paddlers.
This was the fifth year for the Hat, Hat Regatta, which Paddling Club president Rick Redmond said holds a bit of a Canadian record.
“Not only is it the last organized paddling adventure for the Medicine Hat area, it’s the last organized paddling event in all of Canada for 2017 by paddling clubs,” said Redmond. “So, we take a little bit of pride in that.”
It’s been a busy season for Paddling Club members, with events such as the Great Big Paddle highlighting the year, despite the lower water levels.
Redmond said he’s pleased with the way things have gone this summer, and is excited to see participation numbers on the rise.
“This has been a phenomenal season for the Medicine Hat Paddling Club,” he said. “We’ve had more organized events this year, we’ve had pretty good attendance at the events. The premier event this year was our Solar Paddle back in August, we had 30 something paddlers come out and watch the solar eclipse on a Monday.”
Some individual members of the club said they will continue to paddle on the water until the summer-like conditions give way to the fall chill.
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