The first of three water-based fundraisers for the BC Children’s Hospital took place on the windy Inlet on Saturday and it was a chance for avid kiteboarders to show their skills, take part in friendly competition, and raise funds for a worthy cause.
Kiting for Kids is being held for the first time in Port Alberni over the next month. Originally launched in 2013 when kiteboarders crossed the Strait of Georgia, local volunteer Dale Moffatt saw an opportunity to host the event in town and hopes that not only the charity benefits, but the community as a whole as well.
“Number one, it is a good cause,” Dale said. “Just as important, when the Port Authority and City collaborated to have the new kite launch installed, they expressed an interest that they would like to see us host events. I wanted to do it last year, but I couldn’t commit at the time. I wanted to make sure the design was reliable.”
Dale spent time working out the kinks and by November last year was ready to start making things happen with Kiting for Kids.
“The biggest problem is when the container ships come in and park,” he said. “They hit the main props and the water wash and currents cause damage. We’re trying to find ways to minimize that damage.”
Dale said he also wanted to bring the event to the waterfront was to promote the use of the kite launch to secure its future use and maintenance.
“The more people use it, there will be more people attracted to town,” he said.
By organizing three different races, Dale said he can demonstrate the many different disciplines of the sport.
Saturday’s inaugural race, the Great Foil Challenge, had seven competitors take part in a light wind. The foil circuit ran from Centennial Pier to Polly’s Point and back.
“The idea was to see how many laps they could do,” Dale said. “It was non-competitive in the spirit of fundraising for the Children’s Hospital.”
The funds also came from a barbeque cooked up by Homestead Cookhouse at Harbour Quay.
“The mandate of South Port Kiteboarding is to support and promote local businesses and also maintain access to the water,” Dale said.
For anyone who missed the action on the Inlet last weekend, there will be more talent to check out. The next event will be held on June 17 from 1-4pm in conjunction with Port Day. It will be one for spectators since the participants will be dressed in costume.
“They will be playing in the water for all the families and kids to enjoy,” Dale said.
After that, there will be another barbeque at the kite launch.
The most dynamic event will be the finale on July 1 – the day the community will be celebrating Canada’s 150th when Harbour Quay will be abuzz with activity. Landlubbers can expect to see freestyle boarders and big air.
All of these events are dependent on wind, so check out southportkiteboarding.ca for details and updates.