Casey Paynter (left) and Ellissa Bodenham enjoy the Quesnel River Saturday during the 21st annual Unlikely Paddlefest. Both Paynter and Bodenham travelled from Fort St. John to take part in the festivities.

Casey Paynter (left) and Ellissa Bodenham enjoy the Quesnel River Saturday during the 21st annual Unlikely Paddlefest. Both Paynter and Bodenham travelled from Fort St. John to take part in the festivities.

Eighty take to Likely for Paddlefest

The 21st installment of the Unlikely Paddlefest kayaking adventure is in the books.

The 21st installment of the Unlikely Paddlefest kayaking adventure is in the books, and organizer Mark Savard couldn’t be happier with how things went.

The annual festival saw kayakers and paddlers from around the province — even some from as far away as France — converge in Likely over the weekend to paddle the rivers in the region.

“Things were awesome,” said Unlikely Paddlefest organizer Mark Savard. “The sun and paddling were perfect.

“River levels were bang on and there was some unreal surf going down.”

Savard said about 80 boaters paddled the upper and lower Cariboo River, the Quesnel River and the Chilko River, a number he noted was a solid turnout.

“One thing an out-of-towner said, though, was: ‘Where is everybody?’ I said, ‘Huh?’ I thought we had a great turnout. Likely was buzzing with paddlers. But he said with the weather and rivers of this quality there should be thousands of boaters out. We laughed and figured that the locals really don’t get it. It’s like living on a golf course and never even trying to golf.”

Whistler’s Captain Holiday’s Kayak and Adventure School once again came down for the event to help teach paddling to anyone who was interested.

“I think he’s been coming for around 20 years,” Savard said. “He was teaching the local Likely kids, too.”

On Monday 26 of the more experience paddlers tackled the more challenging Chilko River.