Claudia Kerckhoff-Van Wijk
Our guest is Claudia Kerckhoff-Van Wijk , known as the White Water Woman. This is how she grew up. Paddling amongst world champions, she quickly rose to the top in Canada and in the world; attaining the Canadian title 10 times, as well as the bronze medal at the World Championships. But the highlight in her life, is being able to transition her athletic career into her businesses, which bring thousands of people into the river community through Madawaska Kanu Centre and OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River. Together with her husband, Dirk, their 3-generation family businesses are celebrating 50 years this season. Claudia feels fortunate to be in outdoor tourism, as every day she hears, ‘thank you, this has been the best day of my life.’ And it’s thanks to the river, which brings you into nature – life’s happy place. Claudia has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement, from the World Paddle Awards for her initiatives in Canada, and across the Globe for her Sport. But, even more special to Claudia is receiving Attraction Ontario’s Tourism Champion award, as she was nominated by her peers from their Ontario Highlands Travel Trade Partnership. It’s working together, collaborating with like-minded tourism operators that makes me enjoy what I do – bringing people to routes that are unique, individualized and authentically Canadian.