Explorers Connect


CommunityJames Hipkiss

After launching their approximate 250km paddleboard event (SUP4Life) at the recent Keloha Festival in Kelowna, Stand Up Paddlers, Mark Jennings-Bates and Peter Dodenhoff are busy preparing for their attempt that commences on the weekend of September 1st 2013 from the Delta Grand Waterfront Resort and Conference Centre.

Jennings-Bates, an advocate for local charity Rally4Life is hoping the duo can raise $30,000 for water projects in the Samburu region of Kenya, a desperately dry region that struggles with cyclical droughts and floods. I have visited the region on a few occasions and we have actively provided safe water in the area already but the problem continues to exist for many farmers and communities in the region who repeatedly lose livestock and family members to drought said Jennings-Bates.

For Jennings-Bates, this will be one of many adventures he has completed and is planning. This event has a unique challenge in that he has only stood on a paddleboard a handful of times and faces a few weeks of continuous paddling with some 45 kilometer days. For Dodenhoff, who owns and operates the Coolsurf SUP school this is an exciting project, largely because of his love of the sport. Stand Up Paddleboarding has been a passion since the early days of the sport he said, adding My school, based out of the Green Bay Bible Camp trains hundreds of youth each summer and it is always fun to see the smiles on the faces of young adults who take to the sport so easily.

The team is hoping that many paddlers from the entire paddling arena will join them as they paddle through Kelowna, Lake Country, Vernon, Las Casa, Westbank, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Naramata and then the final leg back to Kelowna again around September 11 2013. Jackie Jennings-Bates, President of the Rally4Life Foundation is thrilled to see the project advance and get so much attention. For some reason, when Mark was on his paramotor trip in Australia last year, one of his stories received a lot of attention in the Okanagan and so he decided that a local adventure would not only highlight the beautiful fresh water resources we have here, but juxtapose that with the lack of safe water in many parts of the world. In one region alone in Northern Kenya, a community with a similar population to Kelowna, struggles with one single well. Hopefully, Peter and Mark can help communicate the simplicity of providing safe water in these communities and giving future generations the hope that they truly deserve she exclaimed. The team will be announcing times and locations for talks in various lakeside communities as they paddle around the lake.

Photo credits: CoolSurf SUP Inc., Brad Guchardi For more information, visit www.Rally4Life.org or contact mark@markjenningsbates.com