The eighth annual Kalamalka Classic Standup Paddleboard Festival goes Friday and Saturday at Kalamalka Lake. (photo submitted)

Kalamalka Classic ready to roll

Eighth annual event features more than 200 competitors and raises funds to protect Kalamalka Lake

Organizers of this week’s 2017 Kalamalka Classic Standup Paddleboard Festival are ready to welcome an international field with a goal of raising funds and awareness for the protection of Kalamalka Lake.

As the largest paddleboard festival in Canada, the Kal Classic is staged on the colourful waters of Kalamalka Lake and is expected to draw more than 200 paddlers of ages and levels.

Now in it’s eighth year, the focus is still on fun for the whole family.

“When we developed the format for the Classic, it was to reach out to our community and provide a recreational competition with the emphasis on fun for everyone,” said Kevin O’Brien, the event’s race director. “Our lake is arguably the best location to paddle in Canada, and with that comes a responsibility to help protect our watery playground.”

The festival kicks off with a Spirit Paddle on Friday at 5 p.m. and is open to all human-powered craft.

On Saturday, the eighth annual Kalamalka Crossing will see paddlers start their journey at the south end of Kalamalka and blaze a watery trail across the full length of the lake to Kal Beach.

“They do it for the exercise, for the challenge, or race it to beat the clock and a shot at the King and Queen of Kalamalka titles,” said O’Brien.

Kids 13 and under get into the action with their own race dubbed the Keiki Holo – a short course close around the Kal Beach area with the emphasis on fun and participation.

A new event will keep everyone on (and off) their feet on Saturday afternoon.

The Red Paddle Dragon SUP Showdown features teams of four together on a 22-foot-long inflatable board going head to head with other teams.

The Kal Classic serves as a fundraiser to help protect Kalamalka Lake. Proceeds from the event go to support SPKL – the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake.

“Their efforts help preserve the health of Vernon’s drinking water and create awareness for the many threats to water quality – Keep Kal Lake Blue!,” said O’Brien.

In total, almost $10,000 has been raised since the festival began in 2010.

The festival is presented by Kalavida Surf Shop and The Rail Trail Café with support from Twin Fish Board Co, Original Joe’s Restaurant, Marten Brewing Co., Starboard SUP, Rip Curl, Vernon Toyota, and Werner Paddles.

See full details and register at www.kalamalkaclassic.com.