Giant Pumpkin Kayaking: A Unique Sport


Kayaking is one of the most popular watersports in the world. It is a fun activity that involves moving through the water while riding a small water vessel with the help of a double-bladed paddle. It enables the boat driver to move through waterways by sitting face-forward and propelling ahead via alternate side-to-side paddle strokes. The boat driver sits in the cockpit with his legs extended beneath a closed deck, leaving his upper body free and exposed. 

The kayak has been a popular sport for many years, and it is a great activity for enthusiasts of all levels. It is a great way to discover the shallow waters at the edge of the lake, and as well as a high-energy sport to race along rushing waters. But did you know that aside from the usual kayaking sport that we are familiar with, there is a unique variation of it, which is called giant pumpkin kayaking? 

In giant pumpkin kayaking, instead of using kayaks to move through the waters, participants ride in giant pumpkins instead. That sounds strange and interesting at the same time, right? If it’s your first time to know about this sport and you’d like to learn more, read on as we’re giving you more information about giant pumpkin kayaking. 

What is Giant Pumpkin Kayaking?

Gian Pumpkin Kayaking is popularly known as the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta. It is a water race that is held every October on Lake Pesaquid in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It features brightly colored giant pumpkins as the only means of flotation by the participants. It is a half a mile or 800 meters course from start to finish. 

The Windsor Pumpkin Regatta was founded by Danny Dill in 1999. He’s the son of Howard Dill, breeder of the Atlantic Giant pumpkin. Many spectators travel from different places, as far as Michigan and Illinois, to witness the event. It has three classes, which are motor, experimental, and paddling. However, not all classes entice competitors each year. Among these classes, the most popular is the paddling class when it comes to the number of entries.

The Popularity of Giant Pumpkin Kayaking 

different colors and designs of giant pumpkins for kayaking

The giant pumpkin kayaking event became more popular in 2005 when Martha Steward participated in a race. However, only her pastel-colored pumpkin appeared in the race as she could not participate because permission to enter Canada was delayed after her release from incarceration in the ImClone affair. When she was finally granted permission, the weather prevented her from reaching Nova Scotia on time for the race. 

In addition to Martha Stewart, there were many other celebrities and popular participants who have raced in this event. One of them is the local member of parliament, Scott Brison, who has appeared in more than one race. 

Out of the first ten races of this event, Leo Swinamer from New Ross, Nova Scotia, has dominated six of them, including one at the age of 73. Even though he is dominating the event, the popularity of the race continues to increase. In fact, in the 2008 race, there were 10,000 spectators and 60 entries. That is quite many for an unusual sporting event. 

Windsor was not the first to showcase a giant pumpkin as a boat. It’s because Wayne Hackney of Winchester, New Hampshire, was the first one to paddle in a pumpkin in 1996. But the Windsor Pumpkin Regatta has inspired many other pumpkin regattas, such as the one at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, which was held since 2005, and the one on Lake Champlain in Colchester, Vermont. 

What are the Rules in Giant Pumpkin Kayaking?

funny giant pumpkin kayaks designs

There are only a few rules needed to be followed in Giant Pumpkin Kayaking. Here are some of them:

  • The pumpkins that will be used as boats need to weigh 600 to 800 pounds.
  • The participants should be certain that the pumpkins they will be using will float.
  • The racers should be able to paddle 800 meters to the finish line.
  • Pushing or shoving is not allowed. 

In addition to the race, there are also other activities during the event, such as different vendors and booths, souvenir shops, and more. 


Giant Pumpkin Kayaking is indeed a fun sport, no matter how strange it may sound. It is perfect for those who are looking for something new aside from the usual kayaking sport. It is, in fact, more challenging for the participants and more fun to watch for the spectators. If given a chance, would you like to try out this sport? 

We hope this article helped you learn more about Giant Pumpkin Kayaking. If you want to discover more unique sports, check out our list of Unusual Sports You’ve Probably Never Heard Of.

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