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.

Here are more photos of previous races and other albums.

2018 Canoe Races and Sponsors

At the BOAT LAUNCH on 9th Street:

11:45 – Race Captains Meeting

PCWF President Vicky Reyes, Coupeville Mayor Molly Hughes and Samish representatives Rosie James & Kelly Hall

Canoe Races take place during the rest of the afternoon.

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

Thank you all for participating and congratulations to the winners of the 2017 races.

1) Single Man Race - Sponsored by Jerry Saia (Coupeville Inn)
Results: 1st Joe Rodriguez, Upper Skagit, 2nd Darian Williams, Sqway, 3rd Darren Malloway, Nooksack

2) Single Woman Race Sponsored by John Weber (Nahma Investments) Results: 1st Kolleen, Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 2nd Lona Johnson, Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 3rd Gina McCaully, Makah

3) Mixed Doubles Sponsored by Unitarian Fellowship Congregation of Whidbey Island, in honor of Gary Piazzon Results: 1st Joe & Katrice Rodgriguez, Upper Skagit, 2nd Darren Malloway & Randi Gandypie, Nooksack, 3rd Sage Point & Daniel Skowkle

4) 6 Jr. Bucks Sponsored by Orca Network & Langley Whale Center, In honor of “J2, Granny Results: 1st Ocean Thunder, Makah, 2nd Little Native, Swinomish, 3rd No entry

5) 6 Buckskins Sponsored by Susan Berta & Howard Garrett Results: 1st Lil Raven, Nooksack, 2nd Ocean Thunder, Makah, 3rd Yumech, Nooksack

6) 6 Woman Race Sponsored by Molly McPhearson Results: 1st Ocean Thunder, Makah, 2nd Yumech, Nooksack, 3rd Lil Raven, Nooksack

7) 6 Man Race Sponsored by Harold Anderson & Terry Bible Results: 1st Yumech, Nooksack, 2nd Lil Raven, Nooksack, 3rd Rikkole Cree, Nooksack

8) 11 Jr. Bucks Race Sponsored by Coupeville Lions Club Results: 1st Ocean Thunder II, Makah, 2nd Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 3rd War Chief, Swinomish

9) 11 Buckskin Race Sponsored by Martha & Vern Olsen and Vicky & Ricardo Reyes Results: 1st Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 2nd Ocean Thunder II, Makah, 3rd War Chief, Swinomish

10) 11 Woman Race Sponsored by Penn Cove Shellfish Results: 1st Rikkole Cree, Nooksack, 2nd Ocean Thunder II, Makah, 3rd Lone Star, Nooksack

11) 11 Man Race Sponsored byErvin Knezek & David Bieniek Results: 1st Question Mark III, Nooksack, 2nd Lone Star, Nooksack, 3rd No Entry

Travel Money for the first 10 Eleven Man Canoes to arrive supported by: Sue & Pat Waters, bayleaf, Coupe’s Last Stand, Jenne Farm, Jan Picard, Penn Cove Water Festival Association, Michael Ferri, Jim Sherman, Gary Piazzon, and The Crow’s Roost.

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."