The Cottonwood Kayak Club originally started when Barry Allen and Marian Curson brought in a kayak instructor from the University of Calgary to teach kayaking to the local Cottonwood Junior Forest Wardens Youth Group and the local kids. Everyone enjoyed it so much that Barry and Marian started up a club, got some equipment grants, and starting putting kids and families in boats. The club quickly grew and Barry Allen and Laurie Curson started taking kids to the Alberta Summer Games in 1987. 


The club ran weekday competitive and recreational programs for youth and families at the Silver Lagoon, races on the Little Red Deer river and winter training in the Innisfail Aquatic Centre. On weekends the club went to races on the Kananaskis or Red Deer River, and soon had multiple athletes on provincial and national teams. More recently activities have taken place at the training center north of Innisfail.


A list of National athletes who started in the Cottonwood Kayak Club:


Kai Neilson - Jr National Slalom Team & Senior National DR Team 

Becky Ritson-Bennet - Junior National Team- slalom and DR

Kyla Thompson - Junior National Team- slalom and DR 

Terra Thompson - Junior National Slalom Team 

Brendan Curson – Junior National Slalom Team, Senior Development Team & Assistant National Team Coach

Connor Curson - Junior National Slalom Team- Assistant Alberta Team Coach

Daniel Purcell - Junior & Senior National Slalom Team

Thomas Purcell - Junior & Senior National Slalom Team

Jessica Groeneveld - 8yrs Senior National Slalom Team+ Junior National Slalom Team

Levi Severtson - Junior National Slalom Team

Shannon Wagers - Polo U21 National Team

Katrina Wagers - Polo U21 National Team

Katie Hendrickson - Polo U21 National Team

Darius Ramrattan - Junior/U23 National Slalom Team 4yrs


The Cottonwood Kayak Club is a member of the Alberta Whitewater Association. Membership boasts many benefits including access to the clubs equipment. Click below to join the CKC and start paddling!