For the first time in its eight-year history, organizers have had to cancel the Kalamalka Classic Standup Paddleboard Festival this weekend at Kalamalka Lake because of poor air quallity. (File photo)

Air quality sinks Coldstream paddleboard classic

Ninth annual Kalamalka StandUp Paddleboard Classic cancelled due to poor air quality

Organizers were simply left with no other suitable option.

Poor air quality has forced the full cancellation of the annual Kalamalka Classic SUP (StandUp Paddleboard) Festival this weekend at Kal Beach.

“After days of consultation and careful consideration, we have decided to cancel this year’s Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival due to unsafe projected air quality levels for the weekend,” said organizers on the event website.

“The health and safety of our paddlers and volunteers had to be paramount in making this difficult decision. Despite a short reprieve from the smoke this (Thursday) evening, conditions are projected to rise again to unsafe levels of AQHI (Air Quality Health Index) and PM2.5 (Particulate Matter) for the foreseeable future.”

The Classic serves as a year-end gathering for the SUP community and organizers felt trying to force through one or two of the events would just complicate logistics for everyone who was planning to attend or run the event.

“The event is a huge part of the paddling community both locally and provincially so this was the hardest decision we’ve had to make in its nine years.” said Kevin O’Brien, race director. “We wanted to give paddlers as much advance notice as possible by having as much possible forecast knowledge in hand at that time.

“Our sincerest apologies go out to the paddling community, sponsors and our local community who supported this year’s Kal Classic. We would also like to say thank you to the many people who continue to battle the hundreds of wildfires across the province and beyond.”

Organizers say they’re looking forward to hosting the 10th Anniversary Kal Classic in 2019, but are considering alternate date options to celebrate 10 years of SUP with everyone.

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