The Vernon Paddling Centre is welcoming more than 200 athletes this weekend as it hosts the National Iron Outrigger Championships at Kin Beach.
The two-day competition starts Saturday morning with the OC-6 (six-person outriggers) races for women, novice and junior racers leaving the beach at 9:30. The men and mixed crews will hit the waves at 1 p.m.
Vernon is the only club that starts the race Le Mans-style, meaning teams start on the beach and then run down to their boats. The juniors and novices will complete one lap of the 12-kilometre loop, while the women, men and mixed do two laps.
The route takes the teams from Kin Beach to Adventure Bay Point where they turn a buoy and head over to the east shores of Okanagan Lake. The teams then turn again and head back to Kin Beach. Spectators can watch the race from Kin Beach as the teams come around for their second lap.
A total of 35 teams from all over B.C. and Alberta will be competing for CORA Cup (Canadian Outrigger Racing Association) points. The cup will be awarded to the club that has accumulated the most race points over the season.
The women’s team from False Creek in Vancouver is favoured to win, but they will be challenged by crews from Kelowna and Calgary.
Vernon’s mixed team will be looking to dethrone the defending champs from Penticton Racing Canoe Club. Vernon will also enter a men’s team which will be up against some very strong competition from False Creek and Kelowna.
Sunday’s events, again from Kin Beach, will have 50-60 single and double outriggers, and surf skis competing in a 10-km race. Women and novice racers start at 9 a.m., followed by the men and mixed at 10:30.
Sponsors for the event include Silver Star Mountain Resort, Fresh Air Concept, Sandy Cook, Coast Capri Hotel, Vella Radio, Stussi Sports, Skyride, Lake Breeze Winery, Attridge Snow Ski Wake, Coldstream Dry Goods, Village Ski Shop, Starbucks and Natures Fare.
For more information, visit www.vernonpaddlingcentre.ca