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New Kids Paddling Gear in Belize

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What a great Summer.  The month of August has been all about water time with the family...just as it should be for those of us who live in temperate climes.  A highlight for our family was a week of whitewater paddling on the Ottawa River in Ontario. Warm water, big rapids and  great people. This year for the whole family participated, Adam 8, Madeline 11, myself 47 and Andrea (age not to be revealed) all were able to join in on the learning, excitement and fun.  We were hosted by Wilderness Tours (WT),  who are the pre-eminent operator on the Ottawa River - Ok, I have a soft spot for WT, having guided for them just about 30 years ago - but now that I'm all grown up and the Expedition Director for Island Expeditions I know a well run operation when I see it.   One of the things that I really like about WT is their commitment to involving  kids and families in paddlesports.  In Belize, we have the same commitment and I find that being a part of facilitating  kids and parents and grandparents, paddling on the Caribbean, running a river in the rainforest or snorkelling together on the coral reefs during a Belize or Mexico vacation has to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job.  A really important part of making this happen is having the right gear for the right activity. This is especially true for kids.  There are a lot of companies that talk about getting kids involved in the paddling and very few that actually know how to do it.  WT start teaching kids to paddle whitewater  as young as 7 years old, they are able to do this by using Jackson Kayaks built specially for kids. At our Glovers Reef and Lighthouse Reef Basecamps, even though we are out on the sea in the middle of a coral atoll,  with no whitewater rivers anywhere close,  we have Jackson whitewater  kayaks in our fleets for the kids.  And boy what a difference that makes, kids love getting in these boats and playing around off the beach.  We also have Astral PFDs, designed and made to fit children comfortably and of course they look cool too!  Add Aquabound and H20 kids paddles with smaller, lighter blades and smaller circumference  paddle shafts to fit smaller hands and by the end of the trip even your youngest kids may be hooked on paddling! Tim Boys Expedition Director