Event organizer

Clearwater Kayak Festival more than paddlers in the water, organizer says

The Clearwater Kayak Festival isn’t all about kayakers going out paddling, said co-organizer Mat Kasunick.

“We have an amazing story,” Kasunick said.

The Clearwater Kayak Festival was started by Ben Earle in 2007. He was a local whitewater guide who passed away in 2008. Outdoor guide Brenda Parks kept it going for a while until she got over it. distant. Two years passed without a festival, but in 2013 a local committee formed to revive it in Earle’s memory.

Earle left behind a son and a daughter, Rio and Finn, both under the age of three when he died. Now they present the festival’s most prestigious award, the Ben Earle Award, given to the “most adventurous paddler who embodies the spirit of kayaking”.

The festival also donates funds to an organization called First Descent which takes terminally ill patients on outdoor adventures. The money is given in Earle’s name.

“Even though he’s no longer with us, he still gives back to the outdoor community he loves,” Kasunick said.

Kasunick explained that Earle was one of his best friends and housemates and he still organizes the event to keep the festival going in his honor.

“Now it’s become a historic event and that’s why we keep doing it,” Kasunick said. “This is Western Canada’s oldest and largest whitewater kayaking festival.

The festival is back for another year, introducing two new events teaching attendees how to use a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) or whitewater kayak. Both classes are free and part of the festival that brings hundreds of people to Clearwater to kayak, camp and enjoy live music.

The three-day festival will take place on August 5, 6 and 7.

Activities will begin on Friday evening with participant registration and camping. Introductory SUP lessons at 5 p.m. Registration continues Saturday morning with the start of the downhill races. Beginner’s Whitewater Kayaking lessons are at 8:30 am, followed by the Adrian Kiernan Boater Cross, Advanced SUP Race, and Beginner Boater Race. The beginners SUP race is later in the afternoon.

Saturday night there will be live entertainment at the Clearwater Ski Lodge with opening acts from Tim Johnson (Truck House Life), Darlene Fair, Richard Maggs and Chase the Bear headlining.

Sunday school yoga takes place very early, followed by the freestyle event, which Kasunick says will most likely be held at Pink Mountain due to water levels. In this event, participants show off their beleaguered towers on a wave.

“We’re doing amazing things and that’s why I think we’re continuing to grow,” Kasunick said. “It’s not about making money or winning your event, but everyone is coming together and celebrating. That’s why we’re such a big festival.

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