Paddlefest brings kayakers and standup paddleboarders together at Jericho Beach
Standup paddleboarding was on the minds of many in the kayaking industry today at the fifth annual Paddlefest.
The event, which continues until 5 p.m. at the Jericho Sailing Centre, gives people an opportunity to try out boats and new equipment without paying for them, according to Mark Tew, manager of the Ecomarine Kayak Centre.
Mark Tew talks about the appeal of Paddlefest.
Tew mentioned that standup paddleboarding doesn't require as much gear as kayaking. "You can do it in high winds, which is nice," he told the Straight.
Mountain Equipment Co-op organizes Paddlefest, which has attracted about 50 exhibitors, including retailers, nonprofit groups, and the Vancouver aquarium.
MEC's Laura Jackson told the Straight that she hopes to see 2,000 people at Jericho Beach today for the event. "It's basically about getting the paddling community together," she said.
Laura Jackson says the event draws the paddling community together.
Her colleague Sean Mahar, told the Straight that standup paddleboarding originated in Hawaii, where surf instructors would stand on windsurfing boards and use big paddes. This enabled them to watch groups of students.
Mahar, who is the product team leader in the boat section at the MEC store on West Broadway, said that there are now large standup paddleboarding races, and some people are even trying to get it qualified as an Olympic sport.
Sean Mahar discusses how he got interested in paddling.
Mahar pointed out that one of the leaders in the sport in B.C. is Mike Darbyshire, director of the Deep Cove Paddling School. "He helped create the stand-up paddle certification out here for Paddle Canada," Mahar noted.
Darbyshire told the Straight that he has surfed for 10 years and taught kayaking for four years. He said that standup paddleboarding brings the best of both sports together.
"So you're basically using a surfboard that's just been made longer, made wider, and made thicker," Darbyshire said. "It allows you to stand up on flat water."
Mike Darbyshire explains why standup paddleboarding is becoming more popular.
He also mentioned that it provides a full-body workout. "It's a pretty neat perspective to be standing up and basically be walking on water," he added.
Follow Charlie Smith on Twitter at twitter.com/csmithstraight.
I want to offer special thanks to Aurore Thiercelin at Mountain Equipment Co-op for getting me out on the water to take some of the photos below: