MADAWASKA KANU CENTRE

Hermann and Christa-Kerckhoff in 1979 at Jonquiere, QC for the World Championships

The founders of Canada’s longest-running whitewater instruction school (1972) are Kerckhoff Hermann & Christa Kerckhoff.  They have introduced thousands ofCanadians to the thrills and joys of paddling.  It is believed to also be the first commercial whitewater paddling school in the World.   Their visionary leadership also led to the creation of Canada’s first whitewater management plan, working with numerous government agencies and power authorities to guarantee consistent whitewater flows.  They also are responsible for the development of the Ottawa River as a world-class whitewater destination. Hermann and his daughter Claudia being the first to kayak the Ottawa rapids in 1974, then starting OWL Rafting in 1981. They also have taken steps to ensure public access to the Ottawa River, a legacy that will benefit future generations of paddlers.

MKC offers unique youth programs: Whitewater Riders Youth Kayak Camp

Enjoying a meal at MKC with a youth course

Whitewater Riders was founded in 2013 by Katrina Van Wijk, to teach technical skills, outdoor education, and team dynamics to teens who love whitewater and want to take their skills to the next level. Youth will eddy out of this program with new skills, new paddling buddies, greater awareness of river safety and memories to last a lifetime.

Photo from Susan Nerberg’s Explore Magazine article, 2019

International athletes have trained in our programs, a story published by Explore Magazine in June 2019 “Canoe Like a Canadian”, was a feature article a long time in the making.  It tells the story of the Canadian experience and identity to canoe our rivers in their eyes.

Lives well lived leave a powerful legacy. From their personal paddling accomplishments, to their efforts to teach people the skills they need to enjoy years of safely navigating powerful rapids, and their commitment to ensuring everyone has access to some of Canada’s most majestic and powerful rivers, the Kerckhoff’s can look back proudly at their contributions to the whitewater community.

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