OCF 2023: the video!

This is the Open Canoe Festival!

Workshops pre-registrations

The emails for the workshops pre-registrations were sent to all registered participants on Monday evening (17 April).

Remember to check your SPAMS!

If you have not received anything, please contact us by Mail indicating your ticket number and reservation name.


How not to get divorced during a canoe trip!

Some basic psychology to avoid giving up canoeing after the first descent… and save your relationship!

By Paul Villecourt / www.villecourt.com

In North America, canoeing is often called the “divorce boat“! You will understand why. When a few friends embark on the river for the first time, logic naturally pushes couples to form crews. At first sight, this reassures the ladies and the egos of the men are inflated since they are suddenly the guarantors of the couple’s safety on the water. Big mistake! We are all equal when it comes to technical ignorance, yet at the first (or rather third) mistake in the trajectory, all couples have the same reflex. At the beginning, we embark on this unknown boat, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. Mister seats at the back of the canoe, Madam takes the front and off you go! After 5 seconds, the boat starts to move sideways. The strong man doesn’t take it personally and tries to get the boat back on course, usually relying only on his muscles. The canoe returns to the desired course, 2 seconds before starting again on the other side. Without any technical adjustments, the crew will paddle 30 km, whereas the descent is only 15 km. The first “freak-out” is bound to occur before the end of the first half-hour.

In short, the crew is going crazy. Add to this the fatigue, the headwind and the sunburn, and the descent becomes a nightmare.

Rule number 1: never go on a trip as a couple if you are new to canoeing. Mix crews because you will have more restraint and you will be more positive with someone who is not your partner in life.

Rule number 2: before getting on board, be aware that although canoeing is not very difficult, it does require a minimum of technical skills that can be acquired in half an hour. Take the time to discover the boat before starting the descent.

Rule number 3: Canoeing is a team sport. No one is more responsible than the other for flipping or bumping into rocks. Acknowledging this from the start creates a positive atmosphere in the canoe. It is important to recognise mistakes made by the crew without blaming the other, and above all to try to solve technical problems together.

Conclusion: you like canoeing? You care about your relationship? Come to the Open Canoe Festival!

Few days left to register!

Deadline: 15 April. Don’t wait any longer!

There are some events that come up every year and that you pass by saying to yourself: “not concerned” or “déjà vu”. I’m interested in the river, in paddling sports in general, in outdoor sports, I do a bit of kayaking, packrafting, inflatable canoeing… why would I participate in an event that seems to be all about canoeing? Because the Open Canoe Festival is not just about canoeing. But you really have to go there to understand it!

The OCF is the largest gathering dedicated to the culture of canoeing. 3 days of workshops (100 in total!) led in 3 languages by the best European specialists. You will of course learn about technique (for beginners, intermediates or advanced paddlers), river safety, but also and above all a multitude of themes that make the event so rich and unique.

No trace camping, river fauna and flora, edible plants, leadership, electronic equipment, art of bivouacking, fires and knots, expedition preparation, regulations… These are some of the workshops that will occupy your days. In the evening: a concert, a film, a prize lotery (with a canoe to be won) provide an unforgettable atmosphere. And what about the bewitching blue waters of the Drôme during the big descent on Sunday! Frankly, you should try!

April 15: it will be too late. Don’t wait any longer!

I register!

Equipment checklist for a canoe trip

This list has been tested for trips of 30 to 60 days. It includes the essentials, although you can always do more minimalist. All this gear fits into a large 100/120 litre waterproof bag which will therefore contain all the bags described below. For shorter trips, surprisingly the equipment is not much different. Remember: the pack is the weight of our fears!

By Paul Villecourt : PDF checklist available at the bottom of this page.

1/ Overnight items (in a 20/30 litre waterproof bag):

2/ Camping gear:

3/ Clothes (in a 20/30 litre waterproof bag):

4/ Toiletry bag:

5/ Pharmacy kit (in a small waterproof bag):

6/ Canoe gear:

7/ Kitchen barrel:

8/ Repair bag (in small waterproof bag):

9/ Day bag (deck bag, waterproof, 20/30 litres):

© Paul Villecourt / outdoor-reporter.com

10/ Electronics (in a waterproof bag or small waterproof case):

This checklist can be downloaded in PDF format by clicking below:

2023 poster

You will be pampered from the moment you arrive at the Open Canoe Festival! In the welcome bag given to everyone: the legendary T-shirt, a sticker, the programme, but also a superb poster!

It’s always a tricky choice, so every year, we ask what you think with a poll on our Facebook page.

2023 opening film

Screening of the film “Canovélo: in search of the perfect moment” to open the OCF 2023. Friday April 28, 9.30 pm, under the tepee.

This 50-minute film directed by Paul Villecourt tells the story of a 900 km “bike to canoe” journey in the spring of 2021. Christian Barbier and Paul Villecourt spent 26 days in autonomy, linking 4 rivers from the house: Drôme, Loire, Ain and Rhône.

The Canovélo concept: on the road, the bike tows the canoe on a trailer. In the canoe: everything fits inside.

Beyond the original mode of transport, this very personal film shows its author’s quest for freedom, as he leaves the 3rd confinement. An almost therapeutic experience where very sensitive atmospheres alternate with some pretty “freak out” moments.

This film, which could also have been called “A beautiful hassle!”, is a sort of sequel to “La Grande Traversée” of 2017 where the author linked Geneva to the Atlantic by canoe (1500 km in 2 months).

“Canovélo” will be screened for the very first time at the Open Canoe Festival before touring throughout France and abroad.
Info: www.villecourt.com

Win an Esquif canoe!

We have the great pleasure to announce our long time partners Canoe Diffusion and Esquif canoes will offer a splendid “Pocket Canyon” canoe (2 250 € value!).

This legendary model will be equiped with airbags plus some protective skid plates, making it the perfect white water canoe!

No doubt the suspense will be intense at the saturday big lottery where more than 8 000 € in prizes will be offered to the luckiest participants.

Many thanks to Pierre Orban / Canoë Diffusion and Jacques Chassé / Esquif for their support from the beginning of the OCF adventure.

What is my level of canoeing?

When you register at the OCF, you will have to indicate your level of practice: beginner, intermediate or advanced. It is not that simple. Read this article carefully before registering.

The OCF’s team of instructors counts 30 coaches, including some of the best specialists in Europe. They all know that OCF participants have difficulty qualifying their technical level. Very few participants consider themselves to be beginners, when in fact they are! This can result in groups with very different technical levels, which we want to avoid.

Therefore, to determine your level, we invite you to ask yourself the following questions which are valid for all types of boats (tandem or solo canoes, inflatables, kayaks, packrafts…):

Level 3/ Advanced:

Level 2/ Intermediate:

Level 1/ Beginner:

New sponsor : Réhaume canoes.

More than canoes: masterpieces! The Quebec brand Réhaume chooses the Open Canoe Festival to make itself known in Europe.

They come from the country where they are called “canots”, not “canoes”: Quebec / Canada. Their story begins in the 1980s when professional cabinet maker Alain Rhéaume turned his wood working skills towards the art of canoe building. Since that first canoe model, the product line has grown to include over 20 canoes, several display canoes and canoe bookcases.

Almost every part on the boats and bookcases are handcrafted. The lacing for their rawhide seats, the hand caning and steam bent parts are all made at their factory in Saint-Tite, Québec.

On the composite side, Réhaume has several very high-end models that stand out for their level of finish, but also for their weight. Imagine: the carbon version of their Explorer 16′ weighs less than 17 kg!

All models are available in several levels of finish, sometimes subtly mixing wood and composite materials. The most “high-tech” models will appeal to those who are looking for the perfect glide and the canoe of their dreams that can be carried by one person because it is so light.

Don’t hesitate to contact them to order the canoe of your dreams and follow the latest news of their arrival in Europe.