Chris Rath, President of Nova Craft Canoe, purchased a majority stake in The Complete Paddler on July 15, 2020.


As North America’s largest paddle sports retailer in Canada’s largest city, The Complete Paddler has been uniquely positioned for the past 15 years to get tens of thousands of paddling enthusiasts out on the water. Nova Craft Canoe has been an industry leader in Canadian canoe manufacturing for over 50 years. Through this acquisition, the bond between manufacturer and dealer is strengthened, giving consumers a direct link between the boats they love and the store they love to shop at. The Complete Paddler’s Kelly McDowell will remain in his role as president and shareholder.

“These are exciting times for The Complete Paddler and we are looking forward to having Chris onboard to help facilitate new growth for us”

— Kelly McDowell, The Complete Paddler

Though primarily a canoe manufacturer, Nova Craft Canoe is no stranger to the retail business. They own and operate their own retail store, London’s Paddle Shop, in London, Ontario, which sells kayaks, paddles and accessories in addition to its own line of high-quality, Canadian-made canoes. Nova Craft Canoe has been under the ownership of Chris Rath since Jan. 31, 2019.

“Our canoes are enjoyed by paddlers around the world but some of our biggest fans are right here in the GTA. This is an exciting time to be in the paddlesports industry as more and more people head to the great outdoors. There is no better way to showcase our products than with The Complete Paddler, a market leader in paddlesports”

— Chris Rath, President of Nova Craft Canoe

“At The Complete Paddler, we believe this new partnership will assist us with our continued devotion to providing the highest quality gear and customer service to both new and experienced paddlers alike. Our store offerings won’t change – we’ll remain as a dealer for all manner of paddlesports equipment from a multitude of manufacturers. Now we will be able to do so from a place of stability in an ever-changing market which has seen enormous shifts in trends over the past few decades. We welcome and embrace a world where everyone can become a paddler. 

To our loyal existing customers and to those we look forward to meeting, we can’t wait to help you keep your paddle in the water and the open side up.”

Source: The Complete Paddler