The public can try their hand at paddling a surf ski Saturday at Paddlewheel Park

The public can try their hand at paddling a surf ski Saturday at Paddlewheel Park

Surf skis make a splash into Okanagan

Deep Cove will host the demo at Paddlewheel Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

North Okanagan residents can test the waters of Okanagan Lake during a special surf ski demonstration day Saturday.

Surf skis are a kayak-like watercraft, ideal for paddling on lakes and oceans. The-light weight structure allows for effortless paddling.

“Historically the surf skis have been known to be super tippy and only experienced paddlers could manage them,” said Bob Putnam, owner and operator of Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre in North Vancouver.

“But the manufacturers have modified the designs and come out with a  line of easy to use surf skis.”

Deep Cove will host the demo at Paddlewheel Park from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. so residents with some paddling experience can try a surf ski for free.

There will also be a forward stroke clinic from 10 a.m. to noon to teach people the proper technique for efficient paddling.

Dion Maxwell, a former member of the U.S. national sprint kayak team, will be instructing the course geared towards kayakers, and surf ski paddlers who have some experience and want to refine their skill. The cost for the clinic is $20,  with surf ski rentals available for $10.

Then an introduction to surf skis will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. for those  wanting to learn the ins and outs of surf ski paddling. This course is open to all abilities for $30, which includes surf ski rental and drysuit if necessary.

Compared to standard sea kayaks, which weigh about 50 to 60 pounds, surf skis are only 25 to 35 pounds.

“They initially became popular in South Africa and Australia for use by surf lifeguards,” said Putnam.

“In Vancouver, surf skis have become very popular.”