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What’s SUP? Stand-up paddle boarding, of course. There are snowboards, surfboards, wakeboards, wind-sailing boards and wind-surfing boards, and now there’s something called a paddleboard—and a sport to go with it. In fact, according to enthusiasts, SUP is a sport that not only provides a full-body workout but offers a brand-new perspective on the water, from on high, as it were. A hybrid of surfing, kayaking and canoeing, the sport requires rudimentary equipment: a paddle and a flat board with a foam core (often expanded polystyrene), which comes in a range of sizes suited to the user’s weight and interests. Add a few rudimentary tips and a personal flotation device, and you’re ready to get up and move.
All of this is no secret to the organizers of the Kalamalka Classic SUP Festival in Vernon, B.C., celebrating its fifth anniversary on August 30-31. On Saturday, participants of all ages and levels have their choice of events. First up, the two-mile Eagle Dash, which is described as an easy-going short course around the north end of Kalamalka Lake, past the Eagle Nest at Bishops Bird Sanctuary. New and beginner paddlers are promised some light exercise in a “friendly, mildly competitive environment.” Teams of two are also welcome.
Next in line, the short-course Wiki Holo, which demands a thick skin and not a hint of performance anxiety. Simply sprint from the beach to claim your board and then navigate a buoy-studded watery course in front of a group of highly vocal spectators. Keiko Holo, the sister event for kids 13 years and under, presents like challenges, but the course features shallow water and, we assume, less verbal abuse.
On Sunday, the Kalamalka Crossing, characterized as “one of Canada’s sweetest SUP Races.” A scenic, 10-mile journey that stands to attract more than 150 paddlers is promised. Royal titles are assigned to the leading paddlers at the end of the competition.
A fundraiser for The Society for the Protection of Kalamalka Lake, the Kal Classic “combines competitive spirit with the Aloha of the Okanagan region.” Kawabunga, Dude!
For more information, please visit www.kalamalkaclassic.com
photos: tofinopaddlesurf.com, epikoo.com, and Naish Windsurfing
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