(Next) Best Paddling Towns: Squamish, B.C.

Story and Video by David Jackson / Photos by Steve Rogers

The assignment was pretty straightforward: Tap into the rich paddling scene of Squamish, British Columbia to showcase its best on-water offerings. The catch? I only had 24 hours. Game on.

I called up local Vancouver paddler Katrina Van Wijk and told her the scoop, she assured me that by 7 a.m., on the morning I’d be landing that her and a friend, Maranda, would be at The Spit ready for a paddle. She said it was their favorite location for coffee and a sunrise. The girls brought a few SUP boards and we toured around the tidal flats before firing up a stove for java. If this was the local start to mornings in Squamish, I couldn’t wait for the rest of the day.

A call came in from their friend, Richard, suggesting the next stop: Mamquam Falls, an 80-foot cascade just outside of Squamish. Richard was in the parking lot when we arrived, SUP in hand, drysuit on, urging the girls to hurry up. The trio put in just below the drop and paddled up to the base, spending about an hour going back and forth under the thundering marvel and playing in the small rapids. This was definitely a locals’ treasure, I soon realized, as I gazed upon the stunning feature.

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We weren’t far from the Cheakamus River and levels were good, so Katrina and Richard decided they wanted to head for a quick lap. I knew the river would be a B.C. classic featuring turquoise water and a continuous run, but typically B.C. rivers are hard to access. I was amazed when we arrived at the put-in, a thundering 10-foot waterfall with easy access for laps and a takeout below the ensuing section of whitewater, should they choose to head downstream.

With the sun falling in the sky and Katrina, Maranda, and Richard all having obligations that evening back in the city, they decided to get out for one last paddle on their way out of town. We headed for Howe Sound and loaded kayaks into the ocean just a few-minute drive out of Squamish toward Vancouver. The trio paddled all around the bay, taking in the sunset with Anvil Island at their backs. I couldn’t believe that this was all in a single day out in Squamish on the water. I’ve done my share of traveling and paddling, but I’ve never toured around tidal waters before coffee, looked up from a SUP board at a magnificent waterfall shortly after, paddled challenging whitewater for lunch, and then ended the day in ocean kayaks with a laugh. Perhaps I’ll spoil the secret, but if you’re a paddler, you need to know about Squamish — though be warned, bring your fitness if you plan to keep up with the locals!

Paddlers: Katrina Van Wijk [@TiTsDeep], Maranda Stopol[Maranda_Stopol], Richard Moxon
Filmed by: David Jackson[@davidjackson__]
Edited by: Ivan Cooke [@ivancooke]
Photos and On-site Production by: Steve Rogers [@steverogersphotography]
Produced by: Dave Shively
Special Thanks to: Toyota
Locations By Appearance: The Spit [Squamish, BC], Mamquam Falls [Squamish, BC], Cheakamus River [Whistler, BC], Howe Sound [Squamish, BC].

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