Course Length: Approximately 18.5 miles (30 km)

Average Time (H:MM:SS) is 2:55:00.  Range is 1:49:00-3:58:30.
In 2022, the first racers finished this Leg at 12:05 pm
See a short highlight video of this leg here.

View the 43 minute 2023 racer Canoe clinic video here for information on technique, safety, endurance other helpful tips.

Canoe Leg:

River Flow Data from USGS at Ferndale Monitoring Station


The course is approximately 18.5 miles long. The actual passing of the timing chip from the biker to the canoe will take place on the pavement immediately in front of Riverside Park on Park Drive. The timing chip should be worn on the wrist so that if your canoe capsizes, you will not lose it. The canoeist is responsible for the road biker’s finish time. Please be ready and in position when your teammate is approaching. When you receive the chip from the road biker, you must swipe the chip to create a finish/start time, canoe to Ferndale, and then pass the chip to the Cyclocross Biker. The course is considered class 1 (on a 1-6 scale) but represents deceptive hazards due to log jams, submerged logs, undercut trees and other obstructions. At the completion of the canoe leg, the canoeists will beach their canoe between the two buoys. One buoy will be stationed 1/4 of the way across the river, the other on the sand bar. Both paddlers will carry the canoe, paddles, and life jackets up the sandbar to the finish line (about 30-40 yards; the mountain biker may help). After crossing the finish line, the canoe will be put in the storage area temporarily (usually by volunteers) and the Cyclocross Rider can go get on their bike. You should retrieve your canoe immediately from the storage area.

Mandatory Pre-Race Meeting:

There will be a pre-race meeting at 9:15 AM on race day at Riverside Park in Everson. IT IS MANDATORY THAT ALL RACERS ATTEND THIS MEETING TO GET THE LATEST SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURSE.

If you are a racer doing multiple legs, you will receive the mandatory meeting notes via email prior to race day. We will include the mandatory safety meeting notes for any pre-race meetings you will not be present for.

Timing Chips:

Race Timing Chips will consist of the chip on a wristband, and must be passed onto the next racer at each leg exchange area according to the rules. Canoeists: collect the chip from your road bike racer and swipe for them to create the road bike finish time/canoe start time in Everson at Riverside Park. You must swipe the timing chip in front of the white side panel at the red timing tent. The chip will not read if it is concealed in any way (in a closed hand, your pocket etc). Please be in position when your team mate is approaching. Repeat this process at the canoe finish line in Ferndale and pass your chip to the cyclocross biker. 


A designated team representative must pick up the team’s race packet prior to the race.  The packet includes the team timing chip, racing bibs & T-shirts. The designated team representative must distribute items to team members. There will be no extra racing bibs at the exchange areas.


MANDATORY CANOE INSPECTION: All canoes must be inspected before being allowed to race. Your canoe MUST have your team number (bib) affixed to the boat prior to dropping it off. We provide the bib at packet pickup and duct tape is available at the park. Canoes dropped off at Riverside Park on Saturday will be inspected that same day from 11:00am-6:00pm. Canoes arriving Sunday, Race Day MUST pass thru an inspection gate between 7:00-9:15am before being dropped off in the staging areas on the grass. We strongly advise you take advantage of the Saturday inspection and drop off as it will make Race Day much easier for your team. Canoes dropped off Saturday will be watched by the local Boy Scout troop overnight — there is a small donation but it is well worth it, as you won’t have to deal with your vessels on Race Day.

There will be NO EXCEPTIONS to the mandatory canoe inspections, racers that have not passed the inspection process WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Please note that this process must be started by 9:15am on race day or a 20 minute penalty will be assessed. There will be no inspections once the meeting has started. It is strongly recommended that racers get their inspection out of the way on Saturday so they have one less thing to worry about on race day.

PLEASE NOTE: Your canoe must have your team number taped onto your boat in the proper location (front left of vessel) BEFORE you arrive, be that Saturday or Sunday. This number is included in your Ski to Sea packet, please make sure you get it from your team captain and affix it to your canoe prior to inspection. If your team number is not on your vessel, you will be asked to move aside until you acquire your number and this will slow down the check-in process.

Coast Guard approved life jackets must be worn by all participants at all times in an approved manner and both paddlers MUST have a whistle. We will not allow inflatable life jackets of any kind in the canoe leg of the race. Additional inflatable flotation designed to help keep your canoe afloat during a flip is not only allowed, it’s recommended! I-Pods, MP3, Walkman or similar music/audio systems are not allowed to be used by the racers while competing. We recommend that all racers carry a cell phone in an attached waterproof bag so that you can call for help if rescue boats do not find you.

Anybody removing or even unzipping their life jacket is subject to immediate disqualification. Safety boats on the river are watching for this very thing. No water ski belts or electric bilge pumps are allowed; all participants are required to have a whistle. Canoes conforming to the American Canoe Association 3/27 rule will be eligible for the race. Canoeists must use a single-bladed canoe paddle. Steering rudders, rowing frames and oars are not permitted. Canoes may be decked in the middle of the canoe. The following boats are not eligible for the race: canoes over 18’6” in length, any and all kayaks, Olympic Flatwater Canoes (C-1s, C-2s), Olympic Flatwater Kayaks (K-1,-2,-4s), rowing shells and motor driven boats. Skirts will be allowed on canoes. If you flip in the river your timing chip should be ATTACHED to you so it doesn’t sink to the bottom of the river because it was loose in the canoe.

NOTE: The minimum length of canoe allowed for all divisions in the race is 15’2”. Recreational divisions still have a maximum length of 18’ and Competitive divisions have a maximum length of 18’6″. All canoes must be at least .1475 times as wide as long so you should confirm this before you bring your canoe to the course.

Canoe Length Minimum Width
15’2″ 26 7/8″
15’6″ 27 3/8″
16′ 28 1/4″
16’6″ 29 1/4″
17′ 30″
17’6″ 31″
18′ 31 3/4″

(18′ maximum length allowed in Recreational Divisions, all other Divisions 18’6″) This should only exclude racing hulls. For example: 18’ Jensens, Sundowners and Trippers would qualify. “Pro-boats” (327s) and “cruisers” (432s) would not qualify.

On-site race officials will determine the time for an early release if your teammate is late in coming into the Race Exchange area. Be sure to attend the Pre-Race meeting on Race Day for details.

Canoe Launch:

The canoe launch will be at Riverside Park (left turn onto Park Drive after crossing bridge over Nooksack River when entering Everson from the west). Vehicles are to head directly to parking area as directed by volunteers who will be wearing orange OR green jackets BEFORE unloading canoes.


Parking for 2023 is in the field on W 3rd Street, between Blankers Street and Park Dr., volunteers will be on hand to assist in parking. On Saturday, vehicles will be allowed to unload their canoes for inspection at the main park entrance and lot, however on Sunday, vehicles are not allowed in the park and they must unload and carry their canoes from the Stickney Island lot ¼ of a mile away. Again, this is why we strongly encourage you to drop your canoe off on Saturday and leave it in the care of the Boy Scouts overnight.

Road Closure:

The area around the park will be closed from 10:00 AM until 3:00 PM Sunday to all vehicles to facilitate the exchange. Traffic between Lynden and Everson will be rerouted to Van Buren Road and Hampton Road during the exchange time.

Infraction of Rules:

Infraction of the rules by one team member may disqualify the entire team.


It is important for all racers to show their bib numbers when crossing the exchange area. Timing of individual legs may vary based upon exchange area layout. Therefore, personal time kept by racers may not correspond to official results.

Volunteering for Canoe Leg:

If you want to volunteer for the Canoe Leg of the race, please fill out our Volunteer Form.