Vernon hosts the 9th annual Paddleboard Festival ‘Kal Classic’ this weekend

A celebration of all things Stand Up Paddleboard, the festival is a fundraiser to protect Kal Lake.

As one of Vernon’s staple summer events, not even smoky skies are expected to halt Vernon’s 9th annual Kalamalka Classic Paddleboard Festival this weekend.

From the very first event in 2010, the ‘Kal Classic’ has served as a gathering place for all levels and ages of paddlers from across the country and around the globe. Now one of the most anticipated events of the summer, the Festival has also become the largest of its kind in Canada, featuring events for paddlers of every demographic and skill level — a true celebration of all things Stand Up Paddleboard, while also serving as a fundraiser to protect Kalamalka Lake.

Now in it’s ninth year, the event focuses on local participation. From the short course, kids race, Bladerunner Relay, to the Kalamalka Crossing – the marquee event that ends up on the top of many paddlers bucket lists — event directors say there’s something for everyone.

“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 event’s Race Director.

Related: Kalamalka Classic ready to roll

Related: Vernon SUP festival taking shape

The schedule was officially announced Wednesday.

This year’s annual Standup Paddleboard Festival includes:

  1. Spirit Paddle – To kick off the Festival, SPKL (The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake) invites all human-powered watercraft to join the group paddle on Friday night to celebrate the ‘Spirit’ of the event. 5:30 p.m. is the gathering on the beach, with a 6 p.m. start time.
  2. The Rail Trail Recreational Challenge – a short 2.5 mile ‘social’ race for new paddlers to get their feet wet. A great chance to get involved in the festival and get some exercise. Do it solo or with a partner!
  3. WikiHolo – An exciting event that includes a Le Mans-Style beach start, around a buoy-riddled course and back to the beach for a short beach run… and another lap. Great for spectators and paddlers alike.
  4. KeikiHolo – Same as the Wikiholo but for all kids 13 years and under. Under the guidance of top paddlers, kids get some tips before their own fun race.
  5. Bladerunner Showdown — “A great chance for everyone to get into the action.” Teams 4 will form on the beach and go head-to-head aboard the 22’ Bladerunner Inflatable SUPs around a short course for prizes and fun.
  6. The 9th annual Kalamalka Crossing – Sunday’s marquee event is a 10 mile scenic trek across the full length of Kalamalka Lake from Oyama to Kalamalka Beach — Whether participants do it for the exercise, for the challenge, or race it to beat the clock, expected finishing times range from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m.

The event is endorsed by Tourism Vernon and sponsored by Kalavida Surf Shop, Rail Trail Cafe, Original Joes Vernon, Hilltop Subaru and Twin Fish Board Co. with additional support from Underground Brewing, Caufields Engraving, Reef, ONE SUP, Starboard and Dakine.

Partial Proceeds from the event are donated to The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake. Their efforts help preserve the health of Vernon’s drinking water and create awareness for the Lake: Keep Kal Lake Blue. Kalavida has raised more than $9,000 through the festival.

Related: Vernon paddleboarder earns spot on Team Canada

Related: North Okanagan paddleboarder takes on lake for hospice

Related: Paddleboarder completes Okanagan Lake crossing fundraiser

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