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Nechako River set to be haunted by Witch’s Paddle this Halloween

The ethersphere isn’t the only place and ghosts and ghouls will be floating this Halloween.

The Nechako River is on their list too.

They’ll be taking over a bunch of paddleboards Sunday afternoon, October 31, and making the eerie trek from the Foothills Bridge to the Cottonwood Island Park. Or, at least a bunch of local paddleboard enthusiasts will.

“People from the stand-up paddleboard community will come together and go for a paddle down the Nechako,” said organizer Kimberley Kenyon of Born to Board, adding that they will dressed up for Halloween.

It’s called a Witch’s Paddle.

How far they go down the river will depend how high the river is on that day and, of course, the weather, which at this time of year can be iffy. During the summer stand-up paddleboards can go from the end of North Nechako and go to the Cottonwood Island boat launch.

“With the right knowledge and background training, the Nechako can really be quite a nice place to paddle,” she said.

Most paddleboarders will have drysuits on under their costume.

“This time of year I wouldn’t be without a drysuit, especially on moving water,” she said. “The costumes will be fun. I’m going to see if I can put a pumpkin on the front of my board. It looks like there’s only going to be a few of this year, but hopefully, over time, the community will know about and grow around.”

There are a few paddleboarders who aren’t comfortable on moving water, so a group will also get together on Saturday at a local lake, all dressed up.

“There will be more draw for the flat water one because of the security of the not moving water,” she said.

Both paddles, on the river and off, are basically year-end events for local paddleboarders and Kenyon hopes the Witch’s Paddle will raise awareness of the sport.

“It’s just the community getting together and doing something that’s really cool and grow the sport,” she said.

Kenyon has been paddleboarding for about eight or nine years and got into the sport when she moved to Prince George.

“My background is surfing,” she said. “So, when I got to Prince George and was kind of landlocked.”

Sports like mountain-biking didn’t appeal to her and a friend told her she could surf on the rivers around Prince George.

“I was dumbfounded,” she said. “I got sold pretty quickly and then I got hooked on it. Now I’m a certified instructor and own my own business here in Prince George and I teach on flat water and on the rivers.”

On Monday she was surfing on the Willow River, which isn’t anywhere near a flat water experience and, obviously, can be dangerous. But, says Kenyon, it’s all about education.

“People need to seek knowledge and adventure safely,” she said. “We can access our waterways here, safely, and we can have fun on them. You have assess your risk and manage it. If you want to know more about the sport, just look for the community.”

If you want to cheer on the Witch’s Paddle, they will likely head out around noon on Sunday from near the Cedar’s Christian School or the Foothills Bridge.

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