Different strokes for different paddlers

Paddlefest 2011 to highlight emerging sport

Participants in a paddling lesson get prepared to hit the water during last year’s Paddlefest. This year’s multi-faceted event happens Saturday (June 18) at Willows Beach.

No, it’s not surfboarding, or canoeing. It’s a bit of both.

It’s standup paddle-boarding, a new phenomenon that enthusiasts say is making surfing more accessible.

“The average person can surf in a day or two, as opposed to years,” said Jason Maartense, a standup paddle-boarding instructor.

“If you can swim and stand, you can do it.”

Popularized by surfers like Laird Hamilton who use it for cross-training and to build core fitness, the sport now has a healthy competition scene. It also allows young children and seniors to have the experience of being on a bigger board, with the added stability of a paddle, said Maartense.

Stand-up paddle-boarding will be a key part of Paddlefest, a Canada-wide event promoting all types of paddle sports.

June 18 will mark the fourth year Paddlefest has been held in Greater Victoria, but the first time it’ll be held at Willows Beach.

Andrew Woodford from Mountain Equipment Co-op, which is running the event, said paddle sports are growing in popularity, but many people still think they’re too costly to pursue.

“They’re not as expensive as people think,” he said.

Instructors will be offering in-water lessons throughout the day for $10, as well as free demos on the beach.

Power To Be is one of the groups hosting demos of their adapted kayaks, designed for use by children and teens with mental or physical disabilities. The kayaks are fitted with pontoons to keep the canoe more stable, as well as special paddle holders that allow canoeists with poor motor control to grip them more easily, said Power To Be founder and executive director Tim Cormode.

Enthusiasts can buy and sell used gear through the Paddle Swap, by setting up a booth or table at the event.

Paddling organizations and equipment vendors will also have booths.

Paddlers are encouraged to bring their own boats and equipment if they have them.

To register for lessons or the swap meet, email Kieran Dowling at victoriapaddlefest@mec.ca, call 250-386-2667 or visit http://blog.mec.ca/events/mec-paddlefest/mec-paddlefest-victoria.

intern@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Esquimalt speed skating week helps province determine find fastest skater

Speed Week takes place on Dec. 17 at Archie Browning arena

Goldstream church offers free festive feast

Gordon United Church says all are welcome to attend Monday’s meal

Longtime Saanich drama group brings pirates onstage for traditional Christmas pantomime

St. Luke’s Players present Treasure Island Dec. 18 to Jan. 4

Sex workers march in downtown Victoria for Red Umbrella Day

Red umbrellas became a symbol of sex workers after an art installation in Italy

MLA Adam Olsen calls for ‘substantial’ changes in provincial economy

Green Party MLA also criticizes gap between government rhetoric and actions

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Most Read