EcoQuest adventures will be hosting a summer kick off event on June 24 at Esquimalt Lagoon. The free family event will offer kayaking demonstrations and short guided trips around the area. (Dean Kaylan Photography)

Victoria company hosting paddle day on the West Shore

EcoQuest invites locals out to Esquimalt Lagoon for a free paddle on Saturday

Kayaking enthusiasts and interested paddlers will have a great chance to try out the popular sport this weekend (June 24, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.) at Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood.

EcoQuest Adventures is hosting the free event and will be bringing between 10 and 20 boats to the lagoon for the public to try.

If the water is a little rough, trips will take place on the lagoon side. Otherwise, paddlers will get out on the ocean and explore the coast up towards Fisgard Lighthouse.

“We’ll have equipment for kids and adults and everything there that they need,” said owner Lee Richardson, adding that participants should wear water attire as they are likely to get a little wet.

Richardson notes that the sport, despite having a long history as a method of travel for aboriginals, is still fairly young as a mainstream activity, having only taken off in the 70s and 80s.

Naturally, Victoria is one of Canada’s hot spots for paddling, especially when it comes to year-round opportunities. Richardson, an Ontario native, is often asked by friends and family out east whether he will move closer to “home”. His answer usually touches on how good Victoria paddlers have it.

“I can kayak at 500 different places that are 10 minutes from my home,” he said. “In any weather condition I can find a place to go.”

Richardson, a sponsored pro, encourages kids and parents of interested kids to come out and give the sport a shot.

“It’s something that I fell in love with and it’s really made me appreciate where we live and makes that solid connection between kids and their environment,” he said.

A bouncy castle, face painting and Colwood’s regular Beach Food Saturday promises to round out the afternoon of fun.

EcoQuest also runs summer kayaking and environmental camps for kids ages 8-12. For more information, visit ecoquestadventures.com.

joel.tansey@goldstreamgazette.com