The Kalamalka Classic Paddleboard Festival is fast approaching, and it’s looking like it won’t be stifled by smoke this year.
The 10th annual festival takes place Aug. 23 to 25 on Kalamalka Lake. Hosted by the Kalavida Surf Shop, there are a number of events for all ages and ability levels.
Wildfire smoke got in the way of last year’s event, but organizers are optimistic that this year’s relatively milder fire season will make for great conditions on the lake.
“August is holding up pretty good with having not as dry conditions. The air quality is way better than last year’s so people are pretty stoked to have the race this year,” said Perez Vermeulen, who works at the Kalavida Surf Shop.
The festival kicks off Friday, Aug. 23 at 6 p.m. with a Spirit Paddle by the Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake, which invites all human-powered watercrafts to join paddleboarders out on the lake. Participants will congregate on the beach at 5:30 p.m.
The Saturday events include the Rail Trail Recreational Challenge – a four-kilometre casual race for new paddlers to get their feet wet – an adult race around a buoy-riddled course and another race for kids 13 and under. There will also be a Mystery Relay event, where teams will form to compete in a relay that will test their beach and paddle skills.
The final day will feature the festival’s marquee event: the Kalamalka crossing. It’s a 17 kilometre trek across the full length of the lake, from Oyama to Kal Beach. Participants can race to beat the clock (finishing times range from one hour 45 minutes to three and a half hours) or simply do it for the exercise.
“It has a competitive element with the crowning of the King and Queen of Kalamalka, but it’s more about getting everyone in the family involved to celebrate summer and the spirit of the sport,” said Kevin O’Brien, the Crossing event’s race director.
“Usually we’ll have about 200 people crossing the whole lake,” said Vermeulen.
More than $7,000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs at the festival.
Partial proceeds from the event will be donated to efforts to protect the lake from the threat of Zebra and Quagga Mussels in an effort to Keep Kal Lake Blue. Kalavida has raised more than $9,000 through the festival.
The festivities are supported by Tourism Vernon, Hilltop Subaru Vernon, Underground Beverages, Rail Trail Cafe, Original Joes Vernon, Blackfish Paddles and Twin Fish Board Co. with additional support from Vantage One Credit Union, Reef Sandals, Rip Curl and Dakine.
Check out the full festival details and register at www.kalamalkaclassic.com.