Big Canoeing

Owner David Wooldridge was approached by Paddle Canada to design and create, as well as lead the training of the National Certification for Big Canoeing. Since then, Ridge has trained people all over Canada, as well as internationally in big canoes. 

Whether you are taking out novices, paddling on an amazing cultural journey, or would just love to be part of these amazing vessels, we offer five programs that will get you there.

Leading Canada's Big Canoe Instruction, David Wooldridge, owner of Ridge Wilderness Adventures, was asked by Paddle Canada to create a national program. Since 2008 he has travelled around the country sharing this program. Today, we have taken out over 70,000 people in our Big Canoes. Learning how to paddle these big, beautiful canoes is a unique skill that will connect you to Canada's rich history and also ensure future adventures for yourself and those who come aboard your Big Canoe.

Big Canoe Video

Canoe Journeys

A Canoe Journey is simply a group of people paddling together for a common cause. And there is nothing like being on the water with 30 to Three Hundred people paddling Canoes for a common cause! Ridge Wilderness Adventures has been truly lucky to paddle in, lead and create over 20 journeys. We have 16, 25 foot North Canoes (voyageurs) and have expert experience paddling 20-42 foot Coastal and Birch Bark Canoes all over Canada.

How we can help:

  • Create a Journey specifically for your group
  • Assist with the planning of an existing Journey
  • Train Skippers and Pullers

Journey Components you can include:

  • Lake, river, or ocean waters
  • 20 - 400 people
  • Our canoes or yours
  • Food or help you organize your own
  • Transportation needs
  • Safety Vessels (if needed)
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Locations anywhere in BC and Alberta

Why Ridge Wilderness Adventures?

  • The National Paddling Community approached us to create Canada's Big Canoe Program
  • We have taken over 25,000 people out in our canoes
  • We test all new Clipper Canoes (the lead Big Canoe designer and manufacturer in the world) Big Canoes for the Clipper company.
  • It's what we do!

The Journeys we have and are involved in:

  • Salmon Are Sacred Canoe Journey
  • Pulling Together Journeys
  • Awakening the Spirit Canoe Journeys
  • Red Fish School of Changes
  • Sustainable Living Leadership Program
  • Teen Journey
  • Ridge Wilderness Adventures Journeys

Please contact us for more info, We hope to get on the water with you soon!

Group courses: a minimum of 6 participants.

Puller (Big Canoe Skills Introduction)

  • Price per person: $149.95
  • Time: 1.5 days
  • Location: Lower Mainland Dependent on weather and water levels. 

Dates: Dates coming soon!


To introduce novices to the Big Canoe, specifically to the middle and bow positions.

To introduce the basic strokes:

Forward, reverse, check/stop, Drop Skeg* and low brace to safely assist with propelling the canoe forward. backing up, stopping and docking the canoe. 
Participants will rotate through the middle, and bow position in a Big Canoe with a Big Canoe Instructor or a Big Canoe Leader in the stern.
   *Drop Skeg stroke created and coined by Dave Wooldridge.

No prior experience required

Skipper (Big Canoe Skills Intermediate)

  • Price per person: $259.95
  • Time: 2 days
  • Location:  Lower Mainland: Dependent on weather and water levels. 

Dates: Coming soon!

Re-certification/Maintenance Clinic: Coming soon!

Overview: Learn to lead a big canoe with a novice crew.

Prerequisite: Basic Tandem

People that take this course:

  1. Canoe Guide
  2. Summer Camp Staff
  3. Journeys
  4. Brigades
  5. Clubs


  1. Paddling in a straight line, turns, docking, with and without the help of your crew
  2. Crew commands and leading skills
  3. Rescue


  1. Big Canoe Safety
  2. Paddling with other Big Canoes
  3. What to expect from novice paddlers
  4. We touch on packing for a trip, trim and balance of a canoe, how to work together.

Coastal/River Big canoe skills

  • Price per person: $349.95
  • Time: 3 days
  • Location: Group dependent
  • Dates:
    • Contact us! We love to travel for courses and would be happy to come to you! 


Learn to lead a Big Canoe in Coastal and Ocean environments.

People that take this course

  1. People that want to join Ocean Big Canoe Journeys
  2. People that would like to paddle on the Ocean in their Big Canoes.


  1. Paddling in wind, waves, and weather
  2. Paddling in currents and utilizing their effects to our advantage
  3. Working with your crew in adverse conditions
  4. Rescues in Coastal environments.

(Tipping is not required unless you require the certificate)


  1. Nautical chart reading and safe route planning
  2. Current and tide predictions
  3. Trim and balance on the Ocean
  4. Ocean-going canoe design

*All participants will receive nautical charts of the area that we paddle in.


Paddle Canada certificate: Big Canoe Skills with Ocean/River Endorsement

Big Canoe Video

Contact us:


Office: 604 477 4663

Order Here


Hear what folks are saying!

The youth had a great time and I am pretty sure my newer leaders thought it was quite the awesome activity!!! We truly appreciate Gareth coming out, he was great with the kids and very relaxed!!! Given the age of the group last night, all the activities and the skills covered was just right!!! Again thanks!!!!!

Scouter Lisa