Ramp makes splash with skiers

Breaking and losing skis is likely the only negative about Kenni Kuroda’s floating water ramp.

Breaking and losing skis is likely the only negative about Kenni Kuroda’s floating water ramp.

It’s a risk that Connor Spence is willing to take and save himself a few trips to Whistler. Spence, a member of the B.C. Freestyle Academy, loves the Apex Freestyle Club coach’s creation.

“You have to train somehow in the summer for your jump,” said Spence, who was among the athletes at the opening ceremony of the water ramp located near the Penticton Yacht and Tennis Club.  “I thought it was pretty crazy. I thought it was quite the success. It was pretty exciting.”

Spence likes that the ramp enables the skiers to practise the tricks on water, which they can then adjust when switching to training on snow. He also likes that it’s out in the lake and has trained on it twice. The former member of the AFC said the ramp is more like a mogul jump. He added that the transition is not as long and is quicker.

Water ramping is known to be a crucial aspect of freestyle training. Whether skiers compete in aerials, moguls, halfpipe or slopestyle, athletes must practise and qualify inverted tricks on a water ramp or air bag before they can perform them in competition on snow.

Kuroda knew his club didn’t have enough money to acquire land and build a permanent ramp site, but was still committed to giving Okanagan athletes the opportunity to ramp all summer. The former World Cup competitor and one-time professional freestyle skier came up with the idea to create a floating water ramp that could be housed on a barge and would be portable by trailer.

“As far as we know there are no other floating water ramps in the world,” said Canadian Freestyle Ski Association chief operating officer Bruce Robinson.

Kuroda gained support from Trademark Industries, who generously agreed to provide one of their barges for the project — a former military landing craft and troop carrier. Numerous people including Kuroda’s club parents came forward with donations of time and money.

The barge has twin diesel engines and can travel at 12 knots, which means the ramp can be transported easily.

The first trial jumps surpassed even Kuroda’s dreams and he quickly earned CFSA sanctioning.

“We’re really excited about what we’ve created,” said Kuroda. “We have a single jump and a dock that secures to the barge with a coaching platform.”

Kuroda believes that his invention has applications far beyond his Okanagan enclave and said that down the road he might consider selling the plans. For now he’s just looking forward to seeing his own club members reach their potentials and the podium.

On hand for the opening of the ramp was Canadian World Cup aerial superstar Steve Omischl and national mogul team member Kristi Richards.


Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

Justin Fotherby,17, and Ashley McMillan, 17 have been chosen for an invitation only competition that sees 20 of Canada’s top swimmers per event vying for a spot at the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games. (Submitted)
Penticton swimmers off to Olympic trials

The pair are eyeing a spot on the Canadian team heading to the Tokyo Olympics

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Renderings of what the skating rink could look like beside City Hall between Martin and Main in downtown Penticton. (Activate Penticton image)
Outdoor skating rink back at Penticton council

City staff recommend going forward with rink which could host 2022 BCHL’s 60th year celebration

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province's fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read