The Boatwerks Story

Boatwerks Paddling SchoolIn the spring of 1997, Wild Rock Outfitters expanded business endeavours with an innovative concept for a world-class whitewater retail operation called “Boatwerks,” comprised of a traditional store at their Peterborough location, a web-based store and mobile seasonal stores located on the shores of the Ottawa River, Gull River and Madawaska River. This concept proved a recipe for success and, within three years, Boatwerks was the largest seller of whitewater kayaks in Canada.

A portion of this business was sold to long-time employee Jeff Strano in the fall of 2002 and, five years later, this small chain of specialty kayaking stores in Minden and Haliburton, became partners with Algonquin Outfitters and solidified their slogan as “Canada’s Best Kayak Shops.” Eventually, AO became the solo owner and now operates the Haliburton location year-round and the Minden store seasonally.

The Boater Board

Boatwerks hosts the Boater Board on its website, (now discontinued). This popular kayaking forum features discussion on whitewater paddling, equipment and gear, places to paddle and is a great place to swap whitewater equipment.

Haliburton Store

AO Boatwerks in Haliburton embraces all the area has to offer with a great selection of outdoor gear including a full range of kayaks, paddleboards, wakeboards, waterskis and towables. Can’t decide? Test paddle a rental or demo boat! The store also sports a variety of outdoor clothing, surfwear and footwear, make this location the perfect stop on your way to the cottage. Getting ready for winter? Drop by peruse the array of Nordic skis, snowshoes and warm winter wear. Shop the area’s best selection of outerwear from the best brands, then head to nearby Sir Sam’s Ski Area for some winter fun!

Minden Store

The only full-service whitewater kayak and canoe shop in the area, AO Boatwerks boasts the latest models of river running and playboating kayaks and canoes along with an extensive range of accessories. A rental and demo fleet is on hand at the world-class whitewater facility on the nearby Gull River. In addition, AO Boatwerks carries a full lineup of flatwater canoes and kayaks, wakeboards, waterskis, water toys and surfwear. You’ll find everything you need for a day at the cottage, on the river or lake at AO Boatwerks!

AO Boatwerks Paddling School

The AO Boatwerks Paddling School provides instruction for kayaking, canoeing, C1 and more in both whitewater and flatwater disciplines, from beginner to advanced. Programs are primarily run upon request and clinics are available all season long. Please call for more information or to make a reservation for a class. With a variety of courses and clinics, the AO Boatwerks Paddling School can get you on the water and having fun with confidence!

There are no specific course dates; simply call and book a date that’s convenient to you.

Our Gull River location features

  • Whitewater paddling instruction
  • Flatwater paddling instruction
  • Rental whitewater canoes & kayaks

Tips for Running Your First Waterfall Video