Splish, splash: The KitsFest Bathtub Race returns this weekend


Rub-a-dub-dub, it’s time to race bathtubs.

The KitsFest Bathtub Race returns this weekend, with more than 20 racers ready to splish and splash their way around English Bay in their custom made bathtub boats.

nanaimo bathtub races
Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society/Facebook

The one-mile race will see 25 ‘tubbers’ race around an L shaped circuit near the waters off Kits Beach this Saturday, Aug. 10. Kicking off at 2pm racers will be split into three divisions and compete in multiple heats for glory.

Organizers say some of the tubs can exceed speeds of 30km/h.

The bathtub races returned to Kits last year after more than two decades, courtesy of the Canada One Foundation, Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society and the Pitblado Group in cooperation with The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.

Historically, the bathtub races took place across the Strait of Georgia between Nanaimo and Vancouver from 1967 to 1996. The peculiar race was created to showcase Nanaimo to rest of the world. Nowadays, the race in Nanaimo stretches along the eastern waters off Vancouver Island.

If you’re thinking it’s all a little silly… well, you’d be right.

Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society Commodore Greg Peacock, who was excited to bring the historic races back to Vancouver last year, says the camaraderie and silliness is essentially what makes bathtubbing, bathtubbing.

“It’s a bunch of friends, they get together to build one of these things [bathtub boats],” Peacock told Vancouver Courier.

“You’ve got to remember it started for fun. It was a silly event.”

Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society Commodore Greg Peacock is ready to tub
Photograph By DAN TOULGOET

KitsFest runs Aug. 9 to 11. The annual sports and healthy lifestyle festival offers a chance to enjoy the sunshine and play sports on the beach. The festival also offers time to relax during a sunset yoga session.

A licensed beer garden with a 1,200-person capacity will open by noon Saturday.

Plus, there will also be a DJ and prizes.

The Kitsfest RVYC Bath Tub Race

Where: Kits Beach

Date: Saturday Aug. 10

Time: 2 PM – 8 PM.

— With files from John Kurucz / Vancouver Courier