Chilliwack Festival BC

Chilliwack River Festival AND our first winner of this summer’s contest!

(We just aren’t sure which is prettier, our van or the snowy BC mountains)

Don and I just finished a lovely weekend at the Chilliwack River Festival in British Columbia. The festival is put on by the Vancouver Whitewater Club and those guys and gals did a great job organizing everything from food, to shuttles, to prizes for their raffle.

In addition to writing up this sweet festival, we also need to announce our very first winner in the 2010 summer “boatin n’ promotin” tour. Bryan M. is now the proud owner of an IR Thin Skin (A lightweight, tight fitting rash guard. Made with a 4-way stretch a polyester/ bamboo fiber)! Congratulations Bryan. We hope you can put your Thin Skin to good use out there on the rivers.

(Tony and Don enjoying some dinner and a good laugh after Saturday’s river festivities)

This festival is unique and very cool in that it is really centered around beginner and intermediate kayakers. The Vancouver Kayak Club is doing an amazing job getting people into the sport of kayaking. And, the beginners themselves are super hard core. It was a chilly weekend, with snow still VERY close by in the mountains. The river water isn’t exactly warm either, but there were lots of eager paddlers out there giving it a try. My hat is off to them for sure. Learning to kayak is a hard enough endeavor when it’s warm out, let alone when it’s springtime in BC!

Don and I met Tony (pictured above) down in Ecuador a few years back. He came on a trip with us when he was just getting into the sport himself, and he’s since become an invaluable asset to the VKC. Tony, Philip, Katherine and all the other VKC volunteers really made this a special weekend for beginner and intermediate paddlers by helping them to get out on the water–nice work everyone!

(2 women racing down the Tamahi Rapids on the Chilliwack River)

The festival program includes beginner Class I and II runs with experienced members of the VKC leading new kayakers down. There are also guided trips down the Class III and IV- sections for intermediate paddlers, a downriver race, a World Kayak throwdown (for paddlers of all levels) and non-kayaker activities as well if friends or family of kayakers want to come enjoy the weekend. With boat demos, drysuit, helmet and PFD demos, if you live in the Northwest and are trying to get into kayaking, this is a great place to give it a whirl, you will find tons of support here.

(The shuttle bus dropping kayakers off at various points along the Chilliwack)

(loading up the trailer to head to the put in)

It was really great to see tons of paddlers getting after it even though the weather wasn’t exactly “tropical.” Don got to try out his new 2010 AllStar with his new IR Comp LX dry deck with Kling On spray skirt. Despite the fact that everyone else was wearing drysuits (it was 6 degrees Celsius after all–that’s 43 degrees to us Fahrenheit people) Don paddled in shorts and stayed warm and dry in his Jackson/IR set up. Needless to say, he was pretty stoked.

After a nice weekend of boating, Don and I are heading up to Whistler to get in our last few days of skiing for the season. Then we’ll start making our way down to the Clackamas Festival in Oregon stopping off in Seattle and Hood River to hit a few more rivers on the way.
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