Last month I had the pleasure of being part of the team that stand up paddled from Vancouver Island to the mainland as a fundraiser for youth at risk. The preparation for this day took months. Physically, we were all putting miles on our boards and bodies, getting used to gear and testing out nutrition options. If you’re interested The Adventure Lab have published an excellent article on Inflatable Stand Up Paddle Boards that discusses the different types of boards available and some options based on your skill level and intended use if you wanted to follow in our footsteps. Mentally, the training paddles allowed for us to wrap our minds around what was coming and better prepare ourselves for the pace and conditions of the crossing. Logistically, we had to sort out shuttles, supplies, support boats and contingency plans and then take into account weather forecasts, winds, currents and tides.

When the day came, everything seemed to come together quite well. We set out from Nanaimo at 5am and headed in a north-northeast direction to account for the stronger than expected winds and the tide. After about three and a half hours of battling in this direction we turned more southeast and got to have a little fun riding the bumps for a while and made up some ground after our slow start. From this point on we took a more easterly course towards Bowen Island and paddled away for the better part of the day. Once we were across the bulk of the straight we turned towards English Bay for the home stretch to downtown. We pulled into Sunset Beach around 4:30pm with tired bodies and big smiles on our faces.

When the dust settled, we had been on the water about eleven and a half hours from start to finish and covered 70kms. More importantly, the fundraiser managed to bring in over $11,500 to support youth at risk. For me, this process started back in early February with the training and ended June 6th when we hit the beach. It’s a process I have learned so much from and I’m excited to take this experience with me onto new adventures. The main paddling season has really just begun!

N2V 2015

Other highlights coming this summer include the Columbia/Slocan challenge, Kalamlaka Classic SUP Festival and the KCPO paddle in Saskatchewan to raise awareness and funds for mental health.

This coming weekend is the Columbia/Slocan challenge where I’ll be pushing my comfort zone, racing in a two day event on the Columbia and Slocan Rivers. Saturday’s race will be a 16km straight shot down the Columbia while Sunday’s portion will be a boarder cross style course on the Slocan. Hoping the time on Vedder River pays off!

catching bumps

The Kal Classic runs at the end of the summer in Vernon and I’ll be looking to defend my title as King of Kalamalka over their two-day event with short course races and the Kal Lake crossing. I’m hoping to bring more Fraser Valley representatives along with me, including the kids from our Rippers youth development program.

The KCPO paddle (Keep Calm Paddle On) is one that I’m incredibly excited for. This is a paddle running 150kms, over three days down the South Saskatchewan River, ending right in Saskatoon. It’s an opportunity to see another part of the country, expand on my paddling experience and raise awareness and funds for another great cause.

The paddle board community is amazing, and one that I am honoured to be a part of. If you have yet to experience it, give me a call and let Pure Life Paddle Boards introduce you to it. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’d like to purchase your own paddle board, try looking online at some of these supboard options. There are so many different sizes and colours, there’s bound to be something to suit your needs.

Ken Larsen
E: [email protected]
P: 604-798-2349

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