Family Canoe

Some participants in past Penn Cove Water Festival Canoe Races have included

  • Chehalis, BC
  • Chilliwack, BC
  • Lummi Tribe
  • Makah Tribe
  • Nooksak Tribe
  • Samish
  • Samish Tribe
  • Skawh Band (BC)
  • Skowkale Band of Sto:lo First Nation
  • Skowkale First Nation, Chahalis, BC
  • Swinomish Tribe
  • Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver, BC.

Although the May 2021 in-person Penn Cove Water Festival has been cancelled, in its place we will have a Virtual Water Festival event during Orca Month in June, partnering with Orca Network.

(See Penn Cove Water Festival for details.)

Here are more photos of previous races and other albums.

Canoe Races and Sponsors

At the BOAT LAUNCH on 9th Street:


PCWF President Nina Goddeau, Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes and Samish representatives Rosie James & Kelly Hall

12:15 Race Captains Meeting

Canoe Races take place during the rest of the afternoon.

NOTE: If you would like to Sponsor a Race, please contact us at

Races are from 12:30 to 5pm, depending on winds, tides and arrival of participants

1) Single Woman Race - $100
Results: 1st Rikkole - Rikkole Cree/Nooksack, 2nd Theresa - Star Nation/Chilliwack, 3rd Gina - Ocean Thunder/Makah

2) Single Man Race - $100
Results: 1st Joe - Rikkole Cree/Nooksack, 2nd Jacob - Nooksack, 3rd Mike Jr - North Vancouver

3) Mixed Doubles - $150
Results: 1st Rikkole & ? - Rikkole Cree/Nooksack, 2nd Gordon & ? - Rikkole Cree, 3rd Kat & JJ - Rikkole Cree/Nooksack

4) 6 Jr. Buckskins - $250
Results: 1st Xwe Xwos - River Spirit/Chilliwack, 2nd Yumech - Nooksack, 3rd Swinomish

5) 6 Buckskins - $350
Results: 1st Xwe Xwos - River Spirit/Chilliwack, 2nd Yumech - Nooksack, 3rd Autumn Rose - Lummi

6) 6 Woman Race - $350
Results: 1st 'Lil Raven - Nooksack, 2nd 'Lil Cree - Nooksack, 3rd Star Nation - Chilliwack

7) 6 Man Race - $350
Results: 1st 'Lil Cree - Nooksack, 2nd Krishna Cree - Nooksack, 3rd Yumech - Nooksack

8) 11 Jr. Bucks Race - $400
Results: 1st Lone Eagle - Swinomish , 2nd Autumn Rose - Lummi, 3rd no third canoe

9) 11 Buckskin Race - $400
Results: 1st Stepaqtcleq - River Spirit/Chilliwack, 2nd Autumn Rose - Lummi, 3rd Lummi no third canoe

10) 11 Woman Race - $400
Results: 1st Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 2nd Cedar Lady - Star Nation/Chilliwack, 3rd Miss Mary - Chilliwack

11) 11 Man Race - $400
Results: 1st T'xemele (?) III - Nooksack, 2nd War Bonnet - Sulkanum/Nooksack, no third canoe

Family Canoe - $250
Family Canoes can be seen at the boat launch or out on Penn Cove as they paddle and perform their protocol during the day. They may also come to the Wharf at Front Street and offer rides in their Canoes.


Finish The Race!

In a quandary about what to do this Saturday? You're in luck! Head down to Coupeville's historic Front Street and the Boat Launch. It's the twenty-fourth annual Penn Cove Water Festival! Festivities kick off at 11:00 AM at the main stage, near the library.

A well-loved event at the festival - started in the 1930's - is the tradition of Native American canoe racing on the Coupeville waterfront. The canoes range in size from the single-person canoe up to a size built for eleven women or men. With close to 300 "pullers" anticipated for this year's race, you can be confident that the canoe teams are fully prepared and commmitted - chop on the water or not, head-wind or not!

Who is racing? Kevin Roberts of the Nooksack Tribe in Whatcom County has pulled since he was a teen. Now his grandchildren race. He says he feels the tradition in coming to Coupeville. Kevin first saw a canoe at age 3, and began racing at age 16 with his brothers, sisters and dad.

The Nooksack tribe, based in Deming, WA, begins their preparation in early spring. The pullers commit to a strict diet and rigorous exercise. Elders believe this teaches youth how to become a good person and a good sport. Kevin remembers his elders talking about the races in Coupeville. Now, it's his generation telling the stories of Penn Cove and Coupeville.

Look for Andrea Williams of the River Spirit Canoe Club. The Club is based in Chilliwack, B.C. and uses the Fraser River for training. Crossing the border to race in Penn Cove is not too far to come.

Andrea has followed the racing since she was a child. "It is a great feeling to be out on the water. I love being on the canoe. The biggest part of our canoe club is the children. Seeing their excitement and energy is worth all of the effort it takes to get everyone to the race each weekend. It is with team effort that we make it through each year. "Team Work!!"

Andreas' father, the late Dean Williams, was and is an inspiration to the club. "We all miss him...but he taught us well; he showed us how to be leaders. He instilled in us so many teachings that we carry on today. He lives on through each of us."