Paddleboarders coming ashore at Kalamalka Lake were all smiles Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of paddleboarders climbed onto their boards to compete in the 10th annual Kalamalka Classic Stand-up Paddleboard Festival, a two-day competition that ends with a paddleboard race across the blue lake.
“It’s actually a 10-mile race they start in Wood Lake, go around a buoy and then they go through the crossing in between the two lakes. And then they come down to Kal Lake,” said event coordinator Adrienne Harris.
Paddleboard champion Lina Augaitis, who competed in the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, this year, added another win to her overwhelming list of triumphs. She was crowned queen of the Kal Classic for the sixth year.
“I’ve done a lot of sports in my past and the one huge difference with stand-up paddleboarding is the community, anywhere you go in the world, which I have been, it’s so welcoming and encouraging,” said Augaitis.
“There’s no other sport out there like that and when we are competing and racing, it’s like any other competition, it’s fierce, but the second you step off the water it’s hugs and high fives.”
Augaitis said she has hopes that the younger generation will join the sport to help it flourish.
WATCH (Aug. 23, 2018): An eight-year-old boy from Victoria nearly comes in first at stand up paddleboarding competition
“I’ve been paddling for two to three years,” said William Smart, 13, who finished first in his age group. “It wasn’t an easy battle to get there, your buddies are right behind you, just trying to absolutely hammer. It’s just fun and its hard work. It’s not easy to win so you just keep digging and you just have got to put in the effort.”
The Kalamalka Classic will return to the lake next summer for its eleventh year.