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Tuesday, 11 November 2014 19:10

Canadian Boats May Rebound

Have you had your eye on something made in the USA lately? The best time to buy an American product from us is now!

You might think that the lower prices you're seeing at the pump might translate into lower prices for petroleum by-products (like plastic kayaks). The truth is a lot more complicated, so bear with me as we dive into the intricacies of retail pricing policy which might not be as transparent as it should be.

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In the 1990s and early 2000s, when the Canadian Dollar was consistently below par, there was a bit of a heyday for Canadian boat manufacturers, but all that changed when we hit par by 2007. At first this meant a lot of cross-border shopping and complaints about the continued inequality of pricing for Canadian retail. Canadian manufacturers found it difficult to lower their prices to compete with the US while their costs stayed the same. Canadian retail pricing slowly caught up with our neighbours to the South, but this came at the expense of a lot of Canadian manufacturers since we imported more and more of our stock from the US to meet the lower price demand. Too many of our cherished Canadian manufacturers ended up getting bought out by US companies, moving their facilities overseas or going out of business all together. As a consumer you might have seen overall lower prices, but you might not see the true impact of this saga in the long run.


 unnamed_copy.jpgNow the tables have turned again, and the Dollar is slipping back to pre-recession levels (0.88 USD at the time of this post), so what does this mean for you if you're looking at buying a boat in 2014/2015? Expect to see an increase in Canadian pricing for American products. While The Complete Paddler has been able to secure lower pricing for our current stock and some of the inventory for the upcoming season, some US manufacturers' pricing will increase even more drastically as the Canadian Dollar declines.


But don't worry, there is an upside to all of this! Here at The Complete Paddler, we're really hopeful that more and more Canadian manufacturers will come back to life and give us some more home grown options for canoes and kayaks. We're very happy to see that this has already happened with Scott Canoes, Impex kayaks and Blue Water Canoes this week!! We look forward to bringing in more and more of these Canadian boats and accessories that will be priced competitively with their American counterparts so that we can have a broader selection and a stronger Canadian industry as a result. Check out our Sale page for some great deals!


Yours truly,


Kelly McDowell


The Complete Paddler

Published in Latest News


The Complete Paddler is a proud sponser of the Paddle in the Park Contest and we are able to give you the

first clue to the fourth paddle hidden in a park!! Go get it! its Free!


Hap Wilson has hidden a custom Badger canoe paddle in an Ontario Park, and if you can find it, it'll be yours!


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The Paddle In The Park Contest is a province-wide hidden-treasure-style contest just for paddlers. Created by the folks at BADGER Paddles and their outdoorsy blogging friend, Preston Ciere of, the PITPC is all about getting more people out into nature and promoting how rewarding spending time in the wilderness can be. In fact, they have listed 9 + 1 reasons to spend time in nature everyday this summer.

So, to help advocate getting more people out into the backcountry, several well-known outdoor adventureres like Hap Wilson, Kevin Callan, Andrewa Wilson and Conor Mihell have all hidden BADGER canoe paddles along various portage trails at undisclosed locations throughout Ontario.

But the hidden paddle isn't the only prize, there are some great chances to win at home every time a paddle is claimed!

As PITPC partners, The Complete Paddler has been provided with an exclusive clue for the Cabin Falls EcoLodge canoe paddle hidden by Hap Wilson just for you. For more clues and information, be sure to visit the Paddle In the Park Website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Good Luck "Out There!"



Without further ado, here's your clue for the paddle hidden by Hap Wilson:




"Upon stairs of gold where the twin sisters meet,
Not far from the main trail, you must retreat."


Good Luck,

The Complete Paddler


Published in Blog
Thursday, 10 July 2014 19:07

Recreational Kayaks Vs Touring Kayaks


Recreational Kayaks VS. Touring Kayaks


Most kayakers think of themselves as a recreational kayaker and, unless you are racing, this is true. The unfortunate part about this statement is, kayak manufactures have misled boaters with the separation of the two categories which are Recreational Kayaks and Touring Kayaks. This has become unsafe.

I am writing this in hopes of spreading the word about why you may need to choose a touring kayak, instead of a recreational kayak. I could write a thick book on all the differences but all I want to talk about here is safety. So I will make this quick. If you have a recreational kayak (that means you do not have a bow AND stern hatch with sealed bulkheads) you should not go more than about 50 Meters from shore.

The reason you need to stay close to shore with a recreational kayak is if you capsize, the kayak you will not have the required floatation to get back in your kayak. This means you are stuck in the water dragging a flooded kayak back to shore. Picture it, you are out of your kayak, swimming in the water and you have one hand on the grab handle of your kayak trying to swim with your free arm to shore, pulling that flooded (700lbs) kayak through the water. How far can you do that in wavy water that capsized you in the first place? Fifty meters, maybe. Maybe a little further if you are really fit. That is not really that far, is it? So if you have a recreational kayak you must keep about a football field or less between you and shore. That is not that far when you think about it. So a touring kayak does not have these limitations, only your skill level.

We come into contact (more than a few times a day) with people that have purchased kayaks from other stores that did not know this basic information. The sales person should have explained this but not all stores and employees are equal so maybe the manufacturers should have made it easier for this new age of big box stores with no customer service and called them something else! Maybe “You must stay really close to shore kayaks” and “Safe Kayaks *with some proper skills” Sounds much better to me!

Paddle safe,

Kelly McDowell


The Complete Paddler


The Complete Paddler is having a sale on all Touring Kayak's from July11th to the 17th!

We are focusing on Touring Kayaks this week to bring focus to safety.

With purchase of a discounted Touring Kayak you will receive a free instructional day trip over to Toronto Island!!

More info on our sale here.

More info on test paddle dates here.

Published in Latest News
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 16:56

Paddle Sports Oscars


Paddle Sports Oscars


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The Reel Paddling Film Festival Premier was a complete succses! This is the Paddle Sports Oscars!



The Complete Paddler hosted last night's Premier to kick off the Reel Paddling Film Festival's world tour and in doing so raised more money than any other year for Project Canoe, our favorite charity!

Some of you had to miss it so here are the winning films shown from each category, and the Oscar's go to....

Old Man and the Sea

Dark Water

Zegal in the City

Paddle to the Ocean

Have Kids Will Paddle

Kayak Free Kayaking


Thank you to all of our Paddle Sports suppliers who donated to this event's door prizes, to all of our amazing volunteers and of course big thanks to the huge crowd that came out in last night bad weather!


Hopefully we will see you next year!


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Published in Latest News
Friday, 10 January 2014 14:55

Boat Show Sale 2014



All boats and accessories will be on sale plus..

Get a free sea kayaking safety kit with every touring kayak purchase.

Get a free rolling class with every whitewater boat purchase.

Get a free paddle with every recreational kayak or canoe purchase.

Get free indoor storage on all boats purchased until Spring.

By not attending the boat show we are able to offer you the lowest prices!

We will price match all advertised prices at the Toronto International Boat Show.


You will find all of our new boats and accessories with updated inventory here.



Call us for a sale pricing.



Sign up for our Facebook event and win a FREE kayak course for you and a friend!




Published in Events
Tuesday, 15 January 2013 19:27

Reel Paddling Film Festival World Premier

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 The Reel Paddling Film Festival kicks off its 2013 world tour here in Toronto on February 12, 2013.

Rapid Media’s 8th annual Reel Paddling Film Festival showcases some of the best paddling films in the world. This international competition begins in Toronto, ON, hosted by The Complete Paddler, before beginning its year-long tour across the globe and screening to over 30,000 outdoor enthusiasts and their families. The festival recognizes the best paddling films in a series of categories like, best white water kayaking film, best canoeing film, best fishing film etc. It aims to inspire more people to explore rivers, lakes and oceans, push physical and emotional extremes, embrace the lifestyle and appreciate the heritage of the wild places we paddle.

On Tuesday, February 12, 2013 The Complete Paddler will be hosting the premier at the Royal Cinema in Little Italy. Doors will open at 6:30 PM for a 7:00 PM start.

One hundred percent of the night’s proceeds will be going directly to Project Canoe, a Toronto Based youth charity program which aims to foster a transformative environment for young people using the outdoors as a primary medium. Project Canoe will be present at the event to promote and educate patrons on the long running program.

To add even more excitement to the event; thanks to the tremendous generosity of some of our top manufacturers, there will be a number of door prizes to be won as well as two “Hot Ticket” prizes including the new Nova Craft Ocoee solo white water canoe, a remake of an old classic. Everyone who attends will be entered into the draw for the Door Prizes and Hot Tickets will be sold separately for the Nova Craft Ocoee and the Dagger Approach. Hot Tickets will be sold for $2.00/ea or $5.00 for 3 tickets.

Tickets: $12/Advance or $15/door
Advance t
ickets can be purchased online or in person at The Complete Paddler, 919 Oxford St, Toronto ON.

Purchase your advance tickets here

For more information on:



The Complete Paddler wishes to aknowledge the continued support from our door prize donors:

nova craft canoe



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Published in Blog
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 14:49

The New Moisie

Moisie Review: by Kelly McDowell, President of The Complete Paddler

Steph and Kelly

The Moisie is a brand new canoe design from Nova Craft Canoes. Although it is a new design this canoe is very similar to the whitewater tripping canoes called the Evergreen Starburst and Esquif Canyon. As a former Starburst builder I could see subtle differences right away.  I started to measure the Moisie as soon as it arrived in our store and the specs confirmed that it was very similar to the Starburst. The first real difference between the Starburst and the Moisie I noticed was the bottom of the canoe. The bottom of the Starburst is very flat and the Moisie has a very slightly rounded arch to it. This is not very obvious unless you are really looking at it. The other difference I noticed was how deep it was, the specs are the same as far as depth between the Starburst and the Moisie but not all Starburst were trimmed to spec. My Starburst certainly was not as deep as the Moisie we received. I am not one to measure and compare stats too much as they can be very deceiving. The only real way to know how a canoe will paddle is to paddle it!

The first test paddle we organised was with Scott Macgregor from Canoe Roots Magazine and Roch Prevost and Dave Hood from Nova Craft Canoes. We decided on the Lower Madawaska River as the Moisie is designed for white water river tripping. My bow paddler on this first trip was Stephanie Pickett a very good friend and beginner whitewater paddler.

(Above right: courtesy of Scott MacGregor, Rapid Media)

The Moisie outperformed the Starburst in secondary stability. This improved secondary comes at a small price and that is the reduction in its initial stability. Don’t get me wrong as this reduction in initial stability is very small. Even for beginners this Moisie is a very stable boat and most people would not be able to tell the difference between the Starburst and the Moisie. 


In a river situation where the water is moving quickly the Moisie is at home. In flat sections of rivers you will notice it to be slow and to be a little hard to track without a lot of correctional strokes. We outfitted the Moisie with knee pads, thigh straps and end flotation from Mike Yee. We then put a few barrels in the center to simulate the amount of gear we would have on a river trip only to find out that the Moise can fit four full sized barrels in the center!

Steph and I really enjoyed this canoe on the Lower Madawaska and we had a blast paddling with everyone. The river was not very high but it was perfect for some of the beginners out with us and it was a good class 2-3 rapid for the maiden voyage of the Moisie.






RaidarThe next trip The Complete Paddler and Nova Craft planned was a day on the Upper Gatineau River. We wanted to test the Moisie on some really big whitewater. Roch and Dave joined myself and our store Manager Lindsay Finnie as my bow paddler. Lindsay is a seasoned whitewater tandem canoe paddler and absolutely fearless! Don’t let her youth fool you she has been paddling for a long time now and she can handle the big stuff.  As you could imagine organising a day for all of us to go to Quebec was very difficult but we had come up with Oct 30th. As we got closer to the day we became increasing worried about the weather as some of you may recall that was the date Hurricane Sandy hit Ontario. We decided to go anyway as paddling the upper Gatineau River is like being in a hurricane anyway!


Lindsay and Kelly on The Crow cropped copy copy


The Gatineau River was running very high and the sun was out with barely any wind at all, we really lucked out as Sandy was too far south to hit us. Lindsay and I scouted the first rapid and found out how high the river really was. Lucifer’s is the first rapid and it was a huge class 5 at that level. This is one terrifying rapid at high water! Definitely the biggest rapid I have ever paddled in an open tandem canoe. We knew we did not have a good chance of making it down without capsizing but we did want to push the boat and ourselves.

We made it down most of the rapid and ended up going over. When I say we went over, I really mean we had a violent flip from a right hand curling wave that we had planned on pushing through. It was a long cold swim as we were the only ones on the river as Roch and Dave were on shore filming. We did not have much of a problem with the rest of the class 4 and 5’s that day as this canoe was built for big water and it handled it with no issues at all.

 The depth of the Moisie is what keeps the water out and I have never paddled a canoe so deep and dry. It was a big relief as Lucifer’s waves were huge and we really did not want to fill up with water right away. We did change the outfitting for this trip and installed a full center bag for added flotation.

The rocker on the Moisie is very similar to the Starburst in that it has loads!! Everyone measures rocker differently so I will not get into spec's but this canoe can spin on a dime.

I have owned a Starburst for almost ten years and this is the only canoe I would replace it with... and I have with #2 off the production line. Who wants #3? We will be the first store to have them on Nov 14th.

Kelly McDowell







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 Moisie Review: by Lindsay Finnie, Store Manager

I am not new to white water paddling but I am definitely new to this kind of white water paddling. In the past my white water vessel has been in the realm of the Prospector or, when I first learned, my dad’s 20+ years old Mad River Explorer (a boat with zero rocker and a keel).  So it was an adrenaline filled day when Kelly and I took the new Nova Craft Moisie to the Upper Gatineau River to test it on some big water. What a ride. I knew I was in for a big day when we ran our first set, the famous Lucifer. The rapid pushed us around like a pin pall before completely punching us in the face and knocking us over. The Moisie has an incredible amount of rocker to it so it is both playful and responsive. At times I felt like it could read my mind because the action was so immediate. Unfortunately, my draw was no match for Lucifer’s fist.  A big selling point on this new boat is that it is an attempted replica of the much loved, but no longer attainable Evergreen Starburst; and minus about half an inch in the beam, the Moisie comes very close to it. Now, I have never paddled a Starburst but I have paddled the Esquif Canyon which, until now, has been the closest comparing boat a paddler could get to the Starburst. The two differ in one big way – the Moisie has a much rounder bottom than the Canyon, which gives you great secondary stability but does take some getting used to. On the first few sets a simple lean with a draw made me feel like I was going to tip over but once the boat and I got to know each other we seemed to fuse together and move with each other. Another difference is that the Moisie is a deeper, drier boat. I paddled the Gatineau at lower water at the end of the summer in a Canyon and I had less water in my boat this time around with the Moisie (and the water was much higher). The Moisie has definitely been made for the die-hard white water paddler.

While paddling the Moisie, I had a much more intimate experience in the water than I ever have in another boat. When I first paddled a rapid in a kayak I remember saying, “this is much more personal than being in a canoe, you’re so much closer to the action,” because a kayak is so much smaller than a 17 foot tub. The Moisie gave me the intimacy that had been missing before and I felt like I was “with” the boat instead of being “in” the boat. One criticism I could offer was that the seat (I was in the bow) was quite high. This undoubtedly contributed to that off balanced feeling I mentioned earlier. I also had some trouble keeping my bum on the seat while knelt down (I’m short). Even just lowering the

seat an inch would have been a big help. I took to the stern seat for a brief period of time...this is a squirrely boat that does not want to go straight without lots of correctional strokes. Because of this, the Moisie would not be ideal for any kind of prolonged flat water paddling/tripping. If the majority of your paddling is going to be on a river with lots of rapids – the Moisie would be a total dream boat. 

Lindsay Finnie



The Complete Paddler can customize this canoe to whatever outfitting you may need and we have decided to offer a day out on the Lower Madawaska with Lindsay and Kelly to the first five customers who purchase this amazing canoe. We will be the first store to have them in stock as of Nov 15th.

 Nova Craft Specs for the Moisie

Brand: Nova Craft Canoe
Brand Website:
Model Name: Moisie

Product description:  We are proud to launch the new Moisie 16’6, our newest dedicated whitewater tripping canoe. The Moisie 16’6 was created to carry a big load and still handle whitewater with ease. When it comes to whitewater tripping, from side slipping, surfing waves and ferrying in and out of rapids to moving quickly and tracking well in flat sections, the Moisie does it all.

Length: 16' 6"
Width at Gunwales: 34"
Width at Waterline: 33"
Depth at Bow: 26"
Depth at Centre: 15"
Depth at Stern: 26"

Material : Royalex Plus
Trim Material  Vinyl
Weight : 77 lbs
MSRP : $1899

Material  Royalex
Trim Material : Aluminum
Weight : 67 lbs
MSRP : $1899

Published in Blog