About Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia

Mission and Role

Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia (CKNS) is a non-profit society that fosters the growth and development of safe and environmentally responsible, recreational stand up paddle boarding, canoeing, and kayaking in Nova Scotia: through training, promotion, advocacy and stewardship. CKNS is the official voice of recreational canoeing and kayaking in the province. We are supported financially by members, and by the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage for the province. We have developed several strategies for supporting and encouraging recreational paddling:

  • Instruction,
  • Paddling resources,
  • Route maintenance,
  • Recreational area and environmental protection through advocacy, and
  • Promotion through displays and event hosting.


CKNS had its beginnings on November 28, 1973, (formally Canoe Nova Scotia) when the Nova Scotia Department of Recreation organized a meeting of “canoeing enthusiasts” to explore the need for establishing an organization that would be responsible for developing all aspects of canoeing and making programs and information available to interested people. Represented at this meeting were the Canadian Canoe Association, Canadian Hostelling Association, Canadian Whitewater Association, Canadian Camping Association, Dalhousie University, Physical Education Department of Halifax Schools, and the Canadian Red Cross. The result of this and subsequent meetings was the incorporation of the Canoe Nova Scotia Association in 1976. Many members embraced the new sports of whitewater and sea kayaking in the province in the 1990’s and CNS began to provide limited support for these sports. The organization changed its name in 2000 to Canoe Kayak Nova Scotia to reflect its changed role, as it began to offer additional services to kayakers as well as canoeists.

Executive Board 2017

 President: Allan MacDougall

Allan began kayaking in 2007 and after some prompting from a fellow paddler he participated in his first Paddle Canada Certification Course that same year. Since then his passion for paddling grew from short day trips to multi day adventures and kayak surfing.  Today he enjoys paddling with friends, developing his paddling skills and volunteering as a basic kayak instructor.    In the past he has volunteered as an instructor at the Shelburne Kayak Festival and co-chair at the Cape Breton Paddle Festival.    This is Allan’s fourth year on the board.  He is excited to share his passion for paddling with you. But most of all he is here to work for you, a member of the Nova Scotia Paddling Community.  Allan resides in George’s River, Nova Scotia. He may be reached by emailing   president@ckns.ca  or  phoning 902-574-7235.

Past President: Mark Richard

Marc started out sea kayaking about 20 years ago looking for some fun new way to enjoy the water.  He quickly developed a passion for self propelled watercraft and enjoys teaching in several disciplines. Currently a member of the Canadian Freestyle Kayak Team and ranking top ten in the world for squirt boating. He is the owner/operator of KayakNS and can be found at the Dalhousie pool sessions every Sunday and Tuesday if you ever want to learn how to roll. Mark has an extensive outdoor and wilderness background having done some biking, climbing, hiking and even parachuted/bungee jumped a couple of times.Mostly lots of kayaking in many places in Atlantic Canada and is still keen for more.

Director of Mapping: David Ripley

Dave has been paddling since he built his first raft at 6. Since then he has paddled in many parts of canada and the states; both canoe and kayak, flat and whitewater. He joined the board as director at large in 2007 and was treasurer before being elected president. He is working with the board to encourage more safe recreational paddling and develop a long term plan to sustain CKNS and rec paddling in the province.



Treasurer: Sheila Bird

sheila_bird_profile_jan_4_2017_mlSheila loves kayaking.  Lucky for her she lives on the beautiful Atlantic Ocean in a tiny fishing community in South Western Nova Scotia.  She started paddling over 5 years ago out her backdoor and since has been in love with the sport and loves to get other people paddling; she’s passionate about making paddling accessible, affordable, safe and fun for everyone!    Sheila obtained her Basic and Level 1 Paddle Canada certifications and is an Introduction to Kayaking Paddle Canada Instructor.  She’s been involved, since its inception five years ago, as a volunteer organizer and one of the founding members of the Shelburne Kayak Festival.


Secretary: John Nisbet

John has been falling out of canoes since he stated paddling as a kid. While conceding that Kayaks and sup’s are fun, John opines that “CANOES RULE”, year round. Canoe tripping is especially rewarding. New to the CKNS board, John is not well known in the larger paddling community but as the Member at Large on the Board, John plans to introduce himself to and meet as many members of our community as possible.  He will be asking you what we all can do to promote paddling as part of healthy living. Although earning his living indoors, John believes there is no such thing as THE GREAT INDOORS. His volunteer experience includes membership on several other Boards, Committees and Councils. Many of those pertain to youth and or outdoor programs. John is an ardent supporter of the Leave No Trace Program and sees it as yet another way to help promote paddling in Nova Scotia, especially for youth. He hopes you have an interesting day, and paddle safely.

Director of Environment: Dusan Soudek

Tangier River 22 reduced

I come from a canoeing family and have paddled as far back as I can remember. I began with canoeing, and then progressed to whitewater kayaking and sea kayaking. My personal paddling interests, include obscure local canoe routes, portage and campsite maintenance, and helping to preserve our province’s canoe-in backwoods warden’s cabins. I strongly believe that recreational paddlers should have a voice, and have sat on the board of CKNS for many years, usually as the Director of Environment. In this position, I have promoted the creation of new protected wilderness areas and parks, public access to our lakes and coastlines, and improved water quality. When I am not volunteering with the board, I work as a family doctor in Dartmouth and live in Halifax.

Director of Stand-up Paddleboard Instruction: Sarah Hrdlicka

Sarah Hrdlicka is new to the CKNS board. She is an avid year-round paddler based on the South Shore. She is a Paddle Canada SUP and sea kayak instructor, as well as an instructor with the Yoga Alliance. She works as the owner/operator of Cape LaHave Adventures, and as a guide in Antarctica in the ‘off season’. Sarah loves to help people unplug and experience beautiful places through paddling. She is excited be a part of the CKNS board to help support Nova Scotia’s growing SUP community.


Director of Canoe Instruction: Blair Doyle

BlairOwner of Adventure & Safety Atlantic, Blair has an extensive outdoor and wilderness background having hiked, biked, climbed, parachuted, kayaked, and canoed most of Atlantic Canada. He holds several certifications in paddling, in guiding, and as a PADI Divemaster; he has been diving the Maritimes since 1985. Currently, he is a Sea Kayak, River Kayak, and Canoe Instructor Trainer with the Paddle Canada program. Active with the paddling associations, he is Retired Past President of Paddle Canada, having been on the BOD for 10 years and had been on the board of Canoe Kayak NS for 12 years as Presidenr, Past-president and Canoe Director. As a First Aid/CPR, Wilderness and Advanced Emergency Care Instructor Trainer with the Canadian Red Cross he has been responsible for implementation of the Wilderness Medical Program in eastern Canada. He has been involved in Ground Search and Rescue since 1988 and has held differing leadership roles with Halifax Regional SAR, currently Search Director since 2008.

Director of Kayak Instruction:  Matt Delong

cbxatcbx__1480990285_65-95-78-24 Matt DeLong is a new member of the CKNS board. He is passionate about introducing folks to kayaking and taking advantage of the tidal features, surf, whitewater, and touring opportunities in Nova Scotia’s southwest. He also has a keen interest in developing kayak culture and enjoys meeting new people through the sport. He’s paddled extensively in British Columbia and Nova Scotia. He is a Paddle Canada sea kayak instructor (since 2009), a certified guide with the Sea Kayak Guide Alliance of BC (since 2010), and a British Canoe Union 5 star sea kayak leader aspirant. Matt is the lead guide and coach of Candlebox Kayaking based in Shelburne, NS. He is eager to serve with the board and help promote paddling in Nova Scotia.

Director of Promotion: Adam Zita

Adam has been paddling since 1991. He started paddling canoes in Ontario and has been living in Nova Scotia since 2010. He is a certified Level 1 Sea Kayaking Instructor, aspirant Level 2 instructor and Level 3 skills, intro to river kayak skills and a SUP instructor with Paddle Canada.  He volunteers with the Shelburne Kayak Festival as it’s Sessions/Coaches director, coaches with the Cape Breton Paddle Fest, an assistant instructor with East Coast Outfitter’s Guide in Training Program and on the volunteer marketing committee and Director for Nova Scotia with Paddle Canada. Getting the paddling word out to people of Nova Scotia and promoting fun and safe paddling is his goal. He is the Operations Manager and sea kayak guide at East Coast Outfitters in Lower Prospect, Nova Scotia. When he’s not teaching or guiding tours in Nova Scotia, you can find him down south guiding sea kayak tours in Panama

Member at Large: Tommy Boutilier

profile-picGrowing up in Cape Breton I have always had a love for the ocean, however my paddling passion didn’t grow until I was much older. I first tried my hand at white water kayaking while working at a Wilderness School in Alberta. A few years later I moved back to Nova Scotia and my passion for sea kayaking began as just recreational. After my first season I was hooked and since then I have never looked back. I really enjoy paddling with new paddlers to see the same look of  enthusiam in their faces that I had when I first began. I have Paddle Canada level 2 Sea Kayak skills, Flat water Instructor with and a graduate of the Sea Sun Guide School. I have been the Co-chair for Cape Breton Paddlefest for the past 2 years and a volunteer instructor at the Shelburne Kayak Festival.


Administrator: Madeline Lawler

madeline_lawler_photo_mlMadeline (on the left) grew up paddling on Georgian Bay for the past 19 years where she enjoys long paddles by canoe and kayak to access gorgeous spots, which are inaccessible by motor boat. She also has previously competed in canoe races with the Pointe Au Baril Islanders’ Association and completed an eight-day canoe trip on the French River with Glen Bernard Girls Camp. Madeline joins CKNS with an administrative background and is enthusiastic about exploring the many beautiful paddling sites throughout Nova Scotia.   Additionally, she aspires to promote diversity within the paddling community.