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National Whitewater paddling championships kick off in Harvie Passage

About 100 paddlers are in town this week competing in the Canadian National Whitewater Championships.

The events kicked off Wednesday in Harvie Passage with a pair of extreme slalom events, which require paddlers to make tight turns around gates while navigating the current.

Included was a standup paddle board event run as a demonstration, showcasing the popular and rapidly evolving sport.

Senior men's national team member Trevor Boyd said he's happy to be back paddling in his home waters. Boyd returned to Canada from slalom competition circuit in Europe earlier this week and heads back overseas next week to finish out his season.

He said the waters of Harvie Passage are great for the development of the sport.

"I just love Harvie Passage. It's accessible for newer paddlers and it's right here in the city," says Boyd.

But he said despite a strong paddling culture, a lack of advanced facilities hurts Canada's results on the competition circuit.

"You can really see the difference between here and Europe," Boyd said. "Here we have a really strong recreational community, but we don't have as strong a slalom community."

"In Europe they really focus on the slalom competition and their communities are a lot larger."

Despite a wealth of natural waterways, Canada doesn't have any of the purpose-built slalom courses found throughout Europe.

Competition runs over the weekend at Canoe Meadows in Kananaskis Country and the non-paddling public is free to attend. A complete schedule can be found at the Alberta Whitewater Association website. Top Stories

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