By Stephanie Murphy
I have been paddling ever since I can remember. My first memories are from summers at Banook; swimming and paddling on the shores of Lake Banook. I began in Atom as a kayaker as most kids do, but after winning my first C-1 race (sitting down and paddling on both sides to stay straight) I was hooked on canoeing. Through the years, I have won dozens of nationals championship medals in varying distances and disciplines, but my favorite race was always warcanoe.
My first nationals medal was from 2003 when my Midget girls warcanoe crew, consisting of 7 Bantams, pulled out a surprise win. From there, we went on to win another 2 national titles. I still get butterflies thinking about lining up on the line for that first race. Seeing how far women’s canoe has come since I began paddling is absolutely inspirational, to say the least. I wish I had the opportunities growing up that girls just starting out canoeing have now and I am so excited to see what these strong, passionate women can bring to the world stage in 2020!
Presently, I fill my time working, coaching and going to the gym. I am a Recruitment Advisor with the Nova Scotia Health Authority and in the evenings, I coach the Dartmouth High JV Boys basketball team. Basketball is another side passion of mine, as I grew up juggling paddling and playing basketball competitively. As you can see, I like to keep busy!
I decided to join the CKCAC to help keep people my age in the sport longer. This could either be through recruiting those looking to paddle, but not necessarily compete, or those looking to get back into the sport but don’t know where to go or what club to join. Reaching out to those who are in a constant state of “semi-retirement” from paddling, as I like to say, will hopefully result in more engagement and higher numbers at the amateur/masters level.
I have included a few “old school” photos which I feel best describe my life as a paddler and canoer. The first is a photo from 1997 of myself and my C-2 partner Jenna Marks. growing up, Jenna and I won every single distance, in every single age category at the national level in C-2. While Jenna was always much better than me in C-1, we always connected perfectly in C-2. It’s no wonder–we paddled together since we were 6!
The second photo I have included is from 2003 on the podium in Welland. This is after our “Midget” (I say this lightly as over half of us were in Bantam at the time) warcanoe crew won our very first national championship.