OUR TEAM OF EXPERIENCED PADDLERS
Our knowledgeable team of paddlers will make sure you are matched to the best canoe for your needs.
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Keith started paddling in the late 1960's in Snow Lake, Manitoba. He used anything he could to get on the water: a raft, a canoe, or an old aluminum boat with an 18 HP Elgin motor that rarely worked.
A canoe was his water craft of choice. During his teenage years, he paddled a square stern aluminum Springbok canoe. In grade 11, he stepped into a cedar strip racing canoe with Milt Pedwell (a well-known advocate of marathon canoe racing in Manitoba). Always at the back of the pack when canoe racing, it didn't matter to Keith as long as he was on the water. In 1977, he met his wife Arlene, and they raced canoes together.
While canoe racing, he met Everett Crozier from Marinette Wisconsin. Everett is a well-known builder of top-notch carbon marathon racing canoes. Everett showed Keith the basics of canoe building. From there on, it was a lot of trial and error, always improving the product. For roughtly ten years, Keith and Arlene took canoe trips with their children. Paddling with young children gives one a slightly different perspective on travelling in a canoe.
The dream has always been to make a canoe that would be user-friendly to the average person who did not have a lot of paddling skills, but also one that could be used in the most extreme wilderness conditions. Today that dream continues, always tweeking the canoes slightly, striving to have fun in the process.
Wayne was raised in a tamarack log house in the northern Ontario wilderness , 40 miles southwest of what is now Thunder Bay. He left home at 13 to attend high school. He became a licenced tradesman, and became a shop foreman at a large car dealership, and later managed a Canadian Tire automotive repair centre.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees through part-time and summer studies at Queens University, University of Toronto, and Lakehead University. He went on to teach both technical and academic subjects in two different high schools over 35 years. He retired as Director of Technical Education for the Atikokan Board of Education.
While teaching high school, Wayne served as Director of the famous Outers program, Canada's longest running high school credit wilderness programme. This complemented his lifetime of activity in many aspects of outdoor adventure.
Wayne was invited to join the staff of Souris River Canoes in 2000, to handle sales and delivery. Repairing canoes and general maintenance fill-in much of the off-season. For more than a decade, the winter and summer sports show circuit would find Wayne and his wife Ida on the road and working the display booths. As Spring arrives and road conditions improve, they would spend several weeks on the road in the delivery truck and trailer, traversing the highways both in Canada and the United States.
In 2008, Warren left behind 25 years as a desk jockey to build canoes at Souris River. He was a natural fit for the job. Warren bought his first paddle (which he still has) when he was 16 with his first paycheque. He bought his first canoe (which, thankfully, he no longer has) a few months later. Over the years he has amassed a collection of a dozen non-motorized watercraft. There are unsubstantiated rumours that there are a couple kayaks in the collection, but canoes remain his first love.
In 2007, Warren soloed across Lake of the Woods in November, a feat that included 18 foot waves in 80 Km/H winds. He still hasn't told his mother. In 2009, Warren participated in the Quetico Park Centennial Canoe Race, a two-day 200 kilometre race from French Lake to Prairie Portage and back. He did not finish last. With his son Lucas, he completed the 240 kilometre Hunter Island marathon in 53 hours in 2013. He really hopes that his younger son, Dawson, is not interested in trying to beat that time with him. Most of his trips are somewhat more leisurely, generally involving afternoon hammock-time with a wee dram of single malt.
At Souris River Canoes, Warren spends most of his time in the assembly room, and some time in the resin room. He also applied some of the skills from his previous work to rebuild the website, and to help Souris River increase its online retail sales. More recently, Warren has taken-joined Keith and Arlene on the sports show tour.