Special to the Record
The Comox Valley team from Surf-SUP including Stuart and Andrew Robinson, Diana Newson, Shawna Buchanon and Eric Raume had an awesome weekend in the Okanagan. The Kalavida Classic, an open invitation SUP festival hosted on Kalamalka Lake by Kalavida Surf Shop, was rad.
A long drive up on Friday night landed the team in Vernon around midnight. Rushing to sleep, everyone was eager for the race in the morning. The race course was set on the beautiful lake for the first short-distance race. The realization of this being a 12.6 or under class caused some serious issues for Andrew; a last-minute switch landed him racing on Stuart’s 12.3 starboard instead of his usual 14-footer.
Coming in hot against some fierce competition (including Norm Hann of the STANDUP4GREATBEAR project), Stuart placed second in this awesome four-mile race. A heavy race led to some down time in preparation for the afternoon’s knockout sprint course, where 100-metre sprints in heats of four made for a hilarious, action-packed afternoon.
With the option of going either way around the buoy in the short course, it brought on some pretty intense moments in and around the buoys. “What happens behind the buoy stays behind the buoy.”
After the first knockout round Diana landed herself a spot in the women’s finals where in the end her fate found her in fourth. Five races later Stuart landed himself a spot in the men’s final, where he went right and everyone else went left. This confusion method seemed to work quite well over the five races, however in the end he found himself in third for the knockout sprints.
After a long day the crew headed over to the log cabin where Kalavida Surf Shop hosted a wicked dinner and awards ceremony including the movie premier for the STANDUP4GREATBEAR project.
Knowing what was ahead of them the team turned in early to prepare for their 10-mile fate in the morning. Sunday morning conditions were awesome – the clouds were covering the sun just enough to keep us cool and we were granted the wind that we were all hoping for.
A pre-race meeting and a team cheer including the mantra for our sore bodies “We’re 23 not 90” led to the start of the race. A mass start against some serious chop around a buoy and through a tunnel began the start of a 10-mile crossing of what has been voted one of the most beautiful lakes in Canada.
This race was the final stab at the title for King or Queen of Kalamalka Lake for the weekend. Ten brutally flat miles later, a run-in with a stick for an unnamed teammate, a serious comeback and a few hallucinations later, we all finished what was the one of the longest paddles of the season so far.
In a tight battle for King of the Lake, mere points dividing the top three competitors and landed Stuart in third overall for the weekend.
An awesome weekend for everyone, wicked people, some serious competition, a rude awakening for some and overall an awesome first trip of the season for the Surf-SUP crew. Next up for Surf-SUP is the third race of the Island Series in Parksville on July 10 at the Beach Club resort. For more information check out www.surf-sup.ca or facebook.com/comoxvalleypaddleboarding.