- Posted September 14, 2012 by
San Diego, California
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
GET READY to PADDLE for CLEAN WATER
The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches, for all people, through conservation, activism, research and education.
This coming Sunday, the 21st annual Paddle For Clean Water will take place at the Ocean Beach Pier in San Diego. This is a non-competitive event that consists of over 1000 or so local surfers and ocean enthusiasts paddling around the Ocean Beach Pier in a joint effort to bring awareness to the pollution problems along San Diego’s coastline. The nice thing about the Paddle is that it is a free event, and everyone is invited to participate with any craft that is human-powered.That means surfboards, boogey boards, paddleboards, rafts, floaties, and even just freeform swimming.
There is an awesome feeling on camaraderie at this event. A few years ago, the Paddle was canceled, at the suggestion of Ocean Beach Lifeguards, due to extremely high surf. Otherwise, every year, it has been a go, and for the Surfrider Foundation, this is one of our biggest fund-raising opportunities of the year. The sales of Paddle T-shirts is big business on this day. I have volunteered at the T-shirt booth for many years now and those T-shirts just fly off the table!
I have also done the Paddle with my son a few times. In 2008, I even swam the course but was so drained by the time I dragged myself up on the beach after coming in almost dead last, that I vowed it to be my last.
Hopefully, the weather will hold up for Sunday and it will turn out to be a nice day. That always makes for a pleasant time and since so many kids participate, it is always good when they can go out around the Pier and not have the fog obscuring them.
The Paddle for Clean Water does have a serious intent behind it. The main idea here is to bring attention and increase awareness of coastal pollution issues as one of the keys to helping solve the problem.
It is always a nice family environment down at The Paddle and it's very safe in the water. San Diego City Lifeguards monitor the proceedings as well as The O.B. Geriatric Surf Club, which is spaced out along the route around the pier in bright orange hats to assist anyone that needs it.
There is a free breakfast of OJ, coffee and bagels for participants and a beach clean-up is usually done after the event. Rock bands perform in stages set up along the beach. Great raffle prizes are available and several local sponsors gave free stuff to the event participants.
This annual Paddle celebration also helps to promote Surfrider conservation programs, like Ocean Friendly Gardens, Know Your H20, No B.S. (No Border Sewage) and Rise Above Plastics.
The Paddle is an important reminder of how vital clean water really is. This gathering is a show of solidarity for safeguarding the water quality of our coastline and watersheds. As outreach to the community, the Paddle serves as an enriching lesson about the need to be proactive about protecting our marine environments.
photo credit: Surfrider Foundation