The Vernon Paddling Centre hosts the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour

The Vernon Paddling Centre hosts the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour

Vernon Paddling Centre braces for film fest

Some of the best films on the water will be screened when the Reel Paddling Film Festival World Tour arrives in Vernon April 14.

With paddling season about to start, those interested in non-motorized water sport will be enticed to hit the water while watching the Reel Paddling Film Festival.

Hosted by the Vernon Paddling Centre (VPC), selected films from the festival’s 2016 World Tour are being screened at the Vernon Towne Cinema April 14.

Audiences will be able to watch as some of the world’s top kayakers and canoeists tackle rapids or the perfect wave or paddle some of Canada’s most beautiful rivers. The popular sports of stand-up paddle boarding and outrigger canoeing will also be represented.

“The VPC hosted the film festival last year for the first time and it was a great success,” said VPC president Diana Wilson. “Over 150 people attended the event at the Towne theatre and the feedback from the event was very positive.”

This year, the VPC hopes to sell out all 400 seats in the theatre.

“We have lined up over $700 in  door prizes and will be auctioning off a Kal Tire gift certificate for a brand new set of four Nokian tires, valued up to $1,500,” said Wilson.

Proceeds from this year’s festival will help the club purchase materials necessary for its new, improved compound in Paddlewheel Park on Okanagan Landing Road.

“We are shifting from our current compound, which is directly past the tennis courts at Paddlewheel Park, to an adjoining lot that is much closer to the water,” said Wilson. “This move is very important to the club as it dramatically improves safety, significantly expands our capacity, and improves overall accessibility to the sport of paddling. The move also enables our club to be more visible in the community.”

A not-for-profit organization, the VPC has been providing affordable recreational paddling to the Greater Vernon community for more than 20 years. Club members enjoy outrigger canoeing as well as other paddling sports such as stand-up paddle boarding.

“I joined the paddling club seven years ago and can’t imagine my life without this very fun and social group of people,” said Wilson, who has been president of the VPC the past four years. “There are many opportunities for club members to participate in recreational paddling, but for those that are more competitive, there is also a racing component to the club.”

The club holds paddling clinics during the year and its experienced coaches work with members who are interested in racing, added Wilson.

“I have had the opportunity to participate in a number of races in the Interior region and even hope to race in Hawaii one day,” she said.

The VPC is always looking for new members and seeking ways to promote the club and expand its programs.

“Our inventory of boats includes six-person, two-person and single outrigger canoes, stand-up paddle boards and surf skis. We hold group paddles throughout the week and invite anyone to come out and join us,” said Wilson.

The club also offers rental space for those who wish to keep their own canoes, kayaks, paddle boards and other paddle craft in a protected area located by Okanagan Lake, said longtime VPC member Bob Woodman.

Doors to the Reel Paddling Film Festival open at the Towne Cinema Thursday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m., with films starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $12 in advance at the Towne Cinema, the Bean Scene, True Outdoors and Valhalla Pure Outfitters, or $15 at the door.

Those interested in trying out outrigger canoeing can contact the club at info@vernonpaddlingcentre.ca or attend its open house event, June 5 from 10 a.m. to noon at Paddlewheel Park.

More information is also available at www.vernonpaddlingcentre.ca.