July 25th, 2024

‘Great Big Paddle’ sends Hatters down the river

By Mo Cranker on July 24, 2017.

Tricia McKinnon and Mister float down the South Saskatchewan River Saturday. --NEWS PHOTO MO CRANKER


More than 60 paddlers took to the South Saskatchewan River Saturday for the third annual Great Big Paddle event.

The event was held this year by Tourism Medicine Hat with the help of the Medicine Hat Paddling Club. Organizer Abby Czibere said the event is all about getting as many people out, and on the water as possible.

“We’re getting the community out on the South Saskatchewan River as a group so more people can feel confident going out on the water,” she said. “Going out on the water for the first time can be intimidating, but in a group setting it is much easier and gives people a little more confidence.”

Paddling Club president Rick Redmond said the group had near-perfect conditions for the annual ride, but did have to play is safe at a couple points in the journey due to shallow spots.

“You can’t beat the weather we’ve got here today,” he said. “The water is really low right now, which means there will be a point or two that the paddlers will have to avoid the bottom of the river. Other than that, today is looking to be a great day for paddlers.”

Both Czibere and Redmond agreed that one of the biggest messages of the Great Big Paddle event is to get more people out on the South Saskatchewan River, something unique to Medicine Hat.

“This is a phenomenal resource that Medicine Hat has,” saidRedmond. “It’s a very safe body of water to go out on, with many put-in and take-out places. The city is continuing to develop access to the river. People need to get out and use the river that goes right through out beautiful city — we’re really lucky to have it.”

To get involved in paddling-related events go to the Paddling Club’s website, or the Tourism Medicine Hat website.

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