Freshwater Challenge for paddlers

Paddlers of all ages and sizes will converge on Kin Beach this weekend for the Vernon Paddling Centre’s annual Freshwater Challenge races.

Paddlers of all ages and sizes will converge on Kin Beach this weekend for the Vernon Paddling Centre’s annual Freshwater Challenge races.

Approximately 170 paddlers, from all over B.C. and Alberta will participate in both small boat races Saturday and the long-distance, six-man outrigger races Sunday.

On Saturday, the small boat races will include single- and double-outriggers, surf skis, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The athletes will compete in a 10-kilometre loop, which takes them along the shores of Tronson Road. The ladies will race at 12:30 p.m., with the men and mixed teams hitting the water at 2 p.m. Several local paddlers will be competing in various divisions.

On Sunday, the six-man outriggers will be hitting the waves, for both the 24- and 44-k races.

Approximately 10 teams will be competing in the 24-k race, iron style, which has all six paddlers remaining in the boat for the entire race.  Nine-person teams are required for the 44-k race, which has paddlers changing in and out of the boat at intervals.

The long distance races will have the paddlers leaving Kin Beach and paddling down to Adventure Bay point. They will then head up the north end of the lake, before turning a buoy and heading across to the west shores of the lake.  The teams will then paddle to Killiney Beach, where the iron teams will then turn and head back to Kin Beach.

The change teams will continue on to Fintry, where they then cross over to Gull Island.  Rounding Gull Island, the crews then make their way back to Kin Beach along the east shores, passing the Outback and Ellison Park on their way.

The iron race and ladies long course start at Kin Beach at 7 a.m., with the men and mixed crews going at 12:30 p.m. Vernon is being represented by a men’s crew in the long course, and a ladies crew who are preparing for a September race in Hawaii.