With the addition of an exciting kids race and more family-friendly events, this year’s Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival has grown to be the largest of it’s kind in Canada. Sunday’s race across the lake, ‘The Kalamalka Crossing’, was recognized as the first-ever Canadian Championship and officially placed Vernon high up on the destination map for the fast growing sport. The event doubled in attendance from the previous year and featured events for both recreational and competitive paddlers from across Canada and the Pacific Northwest. As a fundraiser for SPKL – The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake, the ‘Kal Classic’ attracted over 180 paddlers and has further boosted it’s ranking as the largest paddleboard event in the country.
After three year’s of hosting it under wet and cool conditions, Kalavida Surf Shop and Naish presented the annual event on a weekend full of sunshine, competition and camaraderie – Fulfilling a vision that started four years ago with just 26 paddlers when the inaugural festival was held in June 2010.
The festival was held over Labour Day weekend where Saturday’s events were all about short courses, recreational fun and a chance to get the kids engaged in a sport that lends itself to full family participation. The Eagle Dash Recreational race kicked off festivities with a 3km paddle around the North end of the lake, passing by Bishop’s Bird Sanctuary, and back to the beach. Next up, the competitive short course race dubbed ‘WikiHolo’ took centre stage – A modified sprint race that featured a beach run between each lap. It was an exciting, spectator friendly event that saw Stuart Robinson of Comox and Lina Augaitis of Vancouver take top honours. The kids then took over the course for the KeikiHolo race where they were treated to a short pre-race clinic with brothers Stuart and Andrew Robinson of Comox. The kids were then divided into age groups and raced their way into the history books as part of the largest kids race in Canada.
The afternoon on Saturday was all about participation where Naish sponsored both a Sprint and Relay event that was run using their popular ‘One 12’6” Inflatable boards. With all competitors using the same board, the races were very close and exciting. “This is way too much fun”, said Kevin O’Brien, the event’s Race Director, who designed the courses and formats. “To watch everyone having a blast, including myself, is what today is all about” he added. His thoughts were echoed by paddlers and spectators alike. “I haven’t had this much fun at a paddleboard race ever!” said Ben Wright of Langley. “My whole family got to participate and we can’t wait until next year already – Thanks to Naish and everyone organized the weekend”.
On Sunday it was the marque event – The Kalamalka Crossing – A scenic 10 mile journey across the full length of Kalamalka Lake. Over 100 paddlers between the ages of 12 and 67 departed from Oyama and finished their journey on the shores of Kalamalka Lake Beach in Coldstream. Stuart Robinson broke the Men’s course record in a time of 1:42:06 to capture the King of Kalamalka Title while Lina Augaitis of Vancouver did the same in the Women’s class with a time of 1:44:39 to capture the title of Queen of Kalamalka (her third in 4 years). Vernon’s Howard Kruschke won the Men’s Recreational division with a finishing time of 1:55:20 and was thrilled about his performance “I just wasn’t expecting to hear my name, this is pretty awesome and I’m still in shock”. Perhaps one of the most compelling feats was Mia Wheatley-Maltais of Comox BC, who became the youngest paddler to complete the crossing at age 12. She completed the trek in 2:32:01 and her efforts will no doubt stoke the fires of all the kids and parents who attended the event.
The event was a huge success and organizers would like to thank Naish and Kalavida for presenting the event along with Tourism Vernon who helped raise the profile of the event through several marketing campaigns. Special thanks go out to VantageOne Credit Union who helped support the Volunteers and supplied the tent for the entertainment and to co-sponsors Caulfields Engraving, Sanuk, Quiksilver, Rip Curl, Quickblade Paddles and Werner Paddles who provided awards and prizing for the various events.
One of the primary goals of the Kal Classic is to create awareness for Kalamalka Lake. Proceeds from the Festival are donated yearly to support SPrKL (Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake) – Their efforts in conservation and education have helped identify and correct a number of environmental threats to the scenic lake. Mahalo to everyone who helped make the event a huge success.
Check out full results at www.kalamalkaclassic.com and set your calendars for August 30-31 to join us for the 5th Annual Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival.
Queen of Kalamalka – Lina Augaitis, Vancouver BC
King of Kalamalka – Stuart Robinson, Comox BC
2013 Canadian Standup Paddleboard Champions:
- 14′ Displacement Men – Stuart Robinson, Comox BC
- 14′ Displacement Women – Lina Augaitis, Vancouver BC
- 12’6 Displacement Men – James Thesiger, Vancouver BC
- 12’6 Displacement Women – Shannon Bell, Vancouver BC
- Masters Men 50+ – Gary Parsons, Vancouver BC
- Masters Women 50+ – Mary Lou Brisco, Quesnel, BC
- Junior Men – Eli Fischbuch, Calgary AB
- Junior Women – Mia Wheatley Maltais, Comox BC
Eagle Dash Recreational Race
12′ Surfboard Men
- Trevor Peterson
- Tom Maxwell
- Ron Garza
12′ Surfboard Women
- Mary Anne Pearsons
- Shireen Sherwani
- Kelly Imada
12’6 Stock Men
- Todd Horne
- Taine Fischbuck
- Laurens Campbell
12’6 Stock Women
- Sandra Mowat
- Christina St-Amour
- Iris Fink
14′ Raceboard Men
- Scott Burton
- John Hamilton
14′ Raceboard Women
- Emily Pearson
WikiHolo (Short Course, Competitive)
- Stuart Robinson
- Norm Hann
- Mike Darbyshire
- Ken Larsen
- Gary Parsons
- Lina Augaitis
- Shannon Bell
- Lysanne Lavigne
- Leanne Stanley
- Diane Wenzel