A brief history

In 1986 a group of 15 Local Windsurfers got together in an attempt to organize a windsurfing Club in Southern Alberta. In April 1986, the FORCE 10 BOARDSAILING CLUB was officially registered as a Society #50346662 with consumer and corporate affairs Alberta. Alpenland Ski and Sport and Fun City Sports from Lethbridge each donated $500 to club development.

The Club soon realized that water access was a number one priority and in 1987 the club pursued the possibility of developing a site at one of the local lakes. City of Lethbridge Building Inspector Roger McMullin was to investigate sites at Stafford and Chin, Terry Thompson to investigate Ridge and St. Mary’s, Kirk Hofman to investigate Park and Keho Lake. The Club choose Keho Lake as the best site around due to the consistently strong unobstructed Chinook winds that would blow from the west in the spring and fall creating large 2 meter rolling waves. Keho was and is still recognized as one of the premier windsurfing sites in North America. International visitors claim “ If you can windsurf Keho on a 100 km day, you can windsurf anywhere in the world”.

On May 2, 1988 the club entered into an agreement with the Alberta Government, to lease 500 feet of beach front land on the north shore of Keho lake (Pt SW 05-12-22-W4M). The lease to expire 2008. The purpose being to develop a public beach. Kirk Hofman was appointed Project Manager and Financial Director for phase one of the three phases of the KEHOKIPA project.

Development started immediately and a committee was formed to assist in the development. Two financial assistance grants were received from the Alberta Government Community Recreation and Culture program, donations from private individuals in the form of cash, services, labour, and equipment use has enabled phase one to be completed by 1991. Provincial government departments, County of Lethbridge, Village’s of Nobleford and Barons all unselfishly assisted the club in the Phase one KEHOKIPA development which included, road construction, camp shelter construction, outhouse ,fence, fire ring and a playground. The Club’s request to have KEHOKIPA exempt from taxation was approved by County of Lethbridge.

By far the most valuable asset to the KEHOKIPA beach development has been the countless hours of volunteer labor, planning and negotiating that came from within the club and the community around Keho Lake. KEHOKIPA BEACH is open to the public for day use and informal camping. The beach has a very informal feel and everyone is encourage to respectfully use and not abuse the site. As a result from developing KEHOKIPA Beach, there are regular organized activities and events have been hosted by the FORCE 10 BOARDSAILING CLUB at Keho, some are:

Annual spring KEHOKIPA beach bash where the best local, national and international windsurfers come to perform amazing maneuvers on the Keho waves and in the air followed by some rural Alberta social fun. The club also hosts annual, complimentary LEARN TO WINDSURF CLINICS, fall Corn roast and Loop Contest, National CYA windsurfing speed trials, 16 Keho Canadian Windsurfing Speed Trials resulting in numerous Canadian records. The Current speed record is over 70 kmph and held by a local sailor. KEHOKIPA has gained a reputation as an advance highwind windsurfing sailing site offering challenges to all. KEHOKIPA and its Windsurfers have been featured in local and national news, movies and sports broadcasting productions. Locals Windsurfers have gone on to be Olympians, National and International event competitors and champions. These people have been ambassadors to rural Southern Alberta. In 2005 the membership of the Club was near 200 people.

In 2001 the new extreme sport of KITESURFING was introduced to KEHO and there was born a companion activity to Windsurfing. Kitesurfing is done by the person on a 1 meter long wake board being pulled around on top of the water by a kite attached to 4 , 25 meter long kite lines that is energize by the force of the wind.

When the winds are light , under 50 kmph, conditions for 10sq meter to 20 sq meter Kitesurfing are ideal. When the winds increase with the famed Chinook conditions to 50 km to 100km the Windsurfers take over the lake on their 2 .5 meter boards and 4 sq meter sails. To some the wind is a nuisance, to windsurfers and kitesurfers it is a necessity to enjoying a fulfilling life. “Lemons or Lemon aid.”

Kirk Hofman