Kelowna Paddle Centre (KPC) is a community-driven, public initiative.
Collaboration with the City of Kelowna, general public and members of the paddling community has resulted in KPC being a central component of the future of the Pandosy Waterfront Project. Kelowna Outrigger Racing Canoe Club started in 2000 with a few keen OC6 (six-person outrigger) paddlers who wanted to bring the sport to Kelowna. This group noticed that all paddlers in Kelowna were being underserved in that there was extremely limited storage space; no club waterfront access; no opportunity for collaboration between paddle sports; and no initiative for the consistent and long term planning, development and implementation of programming. After several years of sustained effort, and with the support of the City of Kelowna (pop 117,000), early in 2014 we were granted a vacant lot on the shore of Okanagan Lake close to downtown Kelowna.
Having a base has enabled us to evolve into the Kelowna Paddle Centre, with focus on Stand Up Paddling, Outrigger Canoeing and Surfski kayaking It has also enabled us to fully embark on the long time goal of bringing paddling to as many people as possible by building public involvement through memberships, outreach programs and lessons for children, youth and adults. The design of our paddle crafts allow for self rescue, while being appealing to recreational and competitive paddlers. We are located in a sheltered part of the lakefront with a vast shallow area which is ideal for kids or adults learning the basics, and yet Okanagan lake is 135 km long which is ideal for exploring and adventures.
KPC aims to promote an active, healthy lifestyle, love of sport and appreciation and respect for our waterways by providing affordable options for all members of the community, in a safe and welcoming environment. With a central location in close proximity to city transit and bike paths, our sport brings people into close contact with the urban wilderness waterways.
Membership has risen from 27 in 2013 to 350 in 2015. In addition, we have also had over 300 adults and youth participating in public programs. With a diverse membership which includes World Championship medalists, National Team Members and Pan American Champions, along with several certified coaches, we are uniquely suited to effectively and safely deliver the wide range of programs for all ages and abilities. By bringing more people to paddling, KPC will also increase non-motorized, low noise, low impact activities on the Okanagan Lake, reducing negative environmental impacts and increasing user safety on both land and water.
We consider paddling the ultimate Canadian outdoor activity, that encourages respect for water and weather, while providing a whole body workout for your novice recreational paddler through to World and Olympic Champions. Paddling allows for seamless cross over between Canoe and Kayak to Stand Up Paddleboarding or Dragon Boating. KPC offers equipment and lessons, and endeavours to expose our community, as well as our neighbouring cities, to all possibilities for Paddle Sport.