Tofino celebrates World Paddling for the Planet Day

The West Coast spent a sunny Saturday afternoon on the water celebrating World Paddling for the Planet Day.

The day was founded in 2012 by stand up paddle surfer Bob Purdy in an effort to promote environmental change by reconnecting people to their natural surroundings.

“I invite paddlers around the planet to pick a change they want to see, paddle for it on the day, and then commit to that change until it becomes reality,” he told the Westerly after getting off his board on Saturday.

“We’re really pleased to come to Tofino this year for my paddle and there’s satellite paddles going on all over the planet today.”

Purdy, a Kelowna local, launched the first World Paddling for the Planet Day on June 16, 2012, and he brought significant attention to his cause by paddling about 135 km across Okanagan Lake.

The inaugural event’s success earned Purdy a second annual showing, which he spent paddling south of the border in Florida’s Lake Powell.

He said Tofino was a natural choice for the event’s third installment.  

“We want to be able to focus and highlight some of these unique special places in the world that need our protection, that need us to step up to the plate and do better for them,” he said.

“Tofino is one of those places that is unlike anything else on the planet, it is a totally unique and different place.”

He said the local support he received during the planning of this year’s event proved Tofino to be a worthy host.

“We made the decision to come to Tofino in December and spoke with a number of people, including Mayor Josie Osborne, and the level of support and enthusiasm that we got from Tofino just nailed it,” he said.

“Everybody supported us and rallied around us. The community here is awesome and we totally made the right decision.”

He hopes getting people out and enjoying their natural surroundings will promote positive environmental change by reestablishing connections.

“One of the reasons that we’ve managed to create some of the challenges on the planet that we have is because we’ve become disconnected. We’re disconnected from the natural world, we’re disconnected from each other, and we’re disconnected from other animal life,” he said.

“Paddling is one of those activities that you get to unplug, you get to get away from the cell phone, the computer, and all that kind of stuff and you get to go out into a spectacular setting.”

Saturday marked the 1,352 consecutive day Purdy had spent on a paddleboard.

He began the streak on Jan 1, 2011, with the hopes of making it to 1,000 days but when he reached this goal he was encouraged to keep the streak alive.  

“I was encouraged by a number of people to continue,” he said. “Our message is starting to get out there and we’ll keep it going as long as I stay healthy.”

Saturday’s event also served as a fundraiser for Tofino-based conservation organization Clayoquot Action.

“What I really love about World Paddle for the Planet Day is it’s about people sharing our love for the environment (and) what pulls us all together is that shared love,” said Clayoquot Action co-founder Dan Lewis.  

“My activism comes from a place of love, not a place of anger and not a place of hate. I don’t hate the people that are running mines or logging but I do love the forests and the animals and I want to protect them.”

The event saw Lewis, a long-time kayaker, get on a paddleboard for the first time and he became an instant fan.

“I had no idea how much fun it was; I’m definitely hooked,” he said.

Saturday’s event raised about $1,500 for Clayoquot Action, according to Lewis.  

“It takes money to do the kind of work we’re trying to do to protect this place that we all love so we really appreciate the fact that Bob (Purdy) wanted to do it as a fundraiser for Clayoquot Action,” he said.

After the day’s paddling was over, the board Purdy had spent his third annual World Paddling for the Planet Day on was raffled off and won by Jarrod Rousseau, a tourist visiting Tofino from Ladysmith.

reporter@westerlynews.ca

Just Posted

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

Ucluelet mayor thanks team at last meeting

Dianne St. Jacques is not running for re-election this month.

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet

“I’m very confident that he’s going to make it. He’s done very well.”

Ahousaht Fire Department always at the ready

“Under stressful situations we come out at our best.”

VIDEO: How to roll a joint

The cannabis connoisseur shares his secrets to rolling the perfect joint

Hero campaign raises $1.1 million for Canada non-profits

Lowe’s Canada Heroes campaign was held throughout September

Scope of Hurricane Michael’s fury becomes clearer in Florida Panhandle

Nearly 137,000 Florida customers remain without power from the Gulf of Mexico to the Georgia border

Streamlined pardon process for pot possession convictions in Canada

Feds say legalization is first step towards objectives of getting pot out of the hands of kids and eliminating black market

Boeser tallies in OT as Canucks beat Penguins 3-2

Vancouver wins without star rookie Pettersson

Mayor of Kamloops says ‘history has been made’ with vote on B.C.’s lone pot shop

The store to be run by the province in B.C.’s Interior is opening Wednesday as pot sales become legal across Canada

New bus route to ‘replace’ Greyhound along Trans-Canada Highway

Rider Express Transportation says they will soon begin a bus service from Winnipeg to Vancouver

U.S. pot firm urges Trump to deny Canadian producers ‘competitive advantage’

The challenge for U.S. firms lies in the fact that while recreational cannabis is legal in nine states and medicinal pot in 22 others, it remains illegal under federal law

Government says imprisoned Canadian terror suspects must face consequences

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale showed little sympathy Tuesday for such individuals who now want to return to Canada

Most Read