Lisette Smid of Coldstream paddles ahead of the competition during last year’s Kalamalka Classic event

Lisette Smid of Coldstream paddles ahead of the competition during last year’s Kalamalka Classic event

Kal beach hosts season opener

A sport that’s making waves both locally and nationally is launching into another season.

The kick-off for stand up paddling gets underway at Kalamalka Beach May 28 at 10 a.m. The Kalavida Surf Shop race and skills clinic is open to both competitive paddlers and anyone interested in trying their balance with the sport for the first time.

“The season opener includes short races for both newbies and competitive paddlers along a spectator-friendly course leaving from Kal Beach,” said organizer Kevin O’Brien, owner of Kalavida Surf Shop.

Races get underway at 1 p.m. and there will be free board demonstrations between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

For those looking to develop their skills or learn new techniques, Norm Hann, who pioneered a 400km stand up paddle trip through the Great Bear Rainforest, will share his knowledge with the group from 10 a.m. to noon.

The family-friendly event includes kids races, relays and free board demos throughout the day.

“The Okanagan region has quickly gained popularity as one of Canada’s top SUP destinations and a strong local presence has helped the sport come to life in the Vernon,” said O’Brien.

The event also serves as a warm-up to the upcoming Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival, June 18-19 in Vernon.

The Kal Classic, presented by Quiksilver Watermans Collection, has emerged as Canada’s largest SUP event and with a strategic partnership in Tourism Vernon,  the second annual race has attracted national and international attention.

With an ongoing commitment to help protect the environment and Kalamalka Lake, partial proceeds will be donated to SPrKL (Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake).

To register, visit Kalavida (next to the Kal Lake Store). Race details are available at www.kalavidasurfshop.com.