With wind speeds on the Alberni Inlet approaching 17-19 knots, the kiteboarders were back in action off their new launching point at the Harbour Quay Marina.
The new launch is located just off the lighthouse pier by the Maritime Discovery Centre and will give members of the public a closeup view of kiteboarders and windsurfers in action this summer.
“It’s awesome,” local kiteboarder Alicia La Rue said before jumping off the pier for another go.
La Rue was joined by Paul Ouellet and Dale Moffatt as they tried out the new pier for the first time, Monday afternoon.
The new launch site is an example of collaboration between the Port Alberni Port Authority and the newly-formed South Port Kiteboarders, Moffatt said. He liaised with PAPA representatives to find an alternative launch when the port authority closed Centennial Pier to kiteboarding earlier this year.
While the pier is still missing a few things, the kiteboarders have put a lot of work into finishing it up. They were at the launch point this past weekend finishing up some construction work.
They’ve also received help from Catalyst Paper in the form of a donation of felt to cover the pier.
For the port authority’s part, they’ve fixed up the infrastructure issues with the lighthouse pier.
“We’ve done significant upgrades to the infrastructure there and the re-alignment of the floats in order to better enable launching,” said PAPA director of public relations and business development David McCormick.
That includes fixing the ramp leading from the lighthouse pier to the floats—it had been broken and closed off to the public for several months.
In order to fund their contribution to the new launching site, the South Port Kiteboarders are hosting a fundraiser at Char’s Landing on May 23 at 7 p.m. Featuring live music and a silent auction, La Rue said the fundraiser is meant to help the group raise the $2500 they’ll need to fund their part of the work.