Environmentalist Bob Purdy is bringing his World Paddle For the Planet to the beautiful beaches of South Walton next weekend.
Purdy has been on his standup paddle board and surfed every day on his Lake Okanagan since Jan. 1, 2011 in his one man effort to change the way we live on the planet.
After completing a year of paddling in 2012 last June, Purdy founded the World Paddle For the Planet event in his hometown of Kelowna, B.C.
South Walton's Leslie Kolovich traveled to Canada last June to meet Purdy and be a part of this paddle. Joan Vienot accompanied her to video and document the event. The women invited Purdy to come to South Walton and hold this year's event here. He agreed.
World Paddle For the Planet will be held over four days, Oct. 10-13, with activities for children, adults, and families and paddling taking place on Lake Powell at Carillon Beach.
Purdy will do a 24-hour paddle on Saturday, and invites others to join him in the endeavor. If you can't do the entire 24 hours, do what you can, said Vienot.
World Paddle For the Planet's mission is to motivate people to make informed personal and political choices with the intention of conserving and preserving the planet’s resources and environmental health through education to raise awareness and together send the message to “be the change you want to see.”
When he speaks of his endeavor, Purdy says he considers himself an elder in training. Purdy believes that as a species, humans have taken advantage of nature’s good nature for too long. He said the evidence is in the land, the water and the air.
“Nature is calling us to change our ways,” he said.
Paddle For The Planet is for any type of paddle craft, said Vienot, who has been SUPing for three years.
Purdy’s mission has touched Vienot personally. She said she used to go through a case of bottled water a week. These days, she reuses not only bottles, but also plastic bags from grocery stores.
"We all have these things and have the right heart. But his commitment is to bring change, and his gimmick is paddling," said Vienot. "If we all create a single change it will create a wave of changes around the world and in our communities."
The World Planet Paddle Day at Lake Powell will be like a festival, and there will be satellite events around the world. This will be an annual event with future World Planet Paddle Day's locations yet to be determined.
This year's beneficiary is Florida Expedition 500, which benefits motherocean.org.
While donations are appreciated, there is no cost for family day Friday, which will include SUP, an eco expo, live critters in touch tanks, and artists painting en plein air. An evening SUP on lit boards in Carillon costs $50.
During an afternoon yoga main event organizers are also asking for donations.
For the 24-hour paddle or any part of it, cost is $50 solo or $350 for teams. There will be water stations and reusable water bottles will be available and T-shirts sold for $12.
The 24-hour paddle launches from Camp Helen, preceded by a ceremony by our local Muscogee Indian tribe at 11 a.m. This is considered sacred and no photography will be allowed, said Vienot.
"It will set the tone," she said. "It's not just about having fun. There will be no racing; it's a cooperative event."
Vienot said she has always had an interest in the environment and went camping as a child. She has lived in Point Washington since 1986.
"It's about taking care of your playground and nature," she said.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
- 6 p.m. Opening Reception and Meet-n-Greet
Oct. 11, Family Fun Day
- 6:30 a.m. Qi Gong with Bob Purdy, on the beach
- 7-8:30 a.m. SUP Yoga by reservation
- 8 a.m. Daily paddle with Bob Purdy, Gulf of Mexico or Lake Powell
- 10-noon, round table summit with Planet Paddlers
- Noon – 6 p.m.
• Education Day, advocating ocean and waterway preservation and conservation
• NOAA’s touch tanks
• Lake Powell Community Alliance’s coastal dune lake education
• Turtle Watch, and other eco-educational groups
• Sara Brenes, the “Shark Whisperer”
• Plein air artists, on location, painting the scenes of the festival
• Eco-friendly product vendors
• Kids Yoga
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
• Family paddle, relay style or parents giving kids rides, on Lake Carillon, one hour before sundown and one hour after, on lit stand-up paddleboards by Night SUP
7:30 p.m. - Outdoor Film Screening of Documentary “Stand,” with Norm Hann
- 6:30 a.m. Qi Gong with Bob Purdy, on the beach and Ocean Hour with Justin Riney
- 10 a.m. Registration
- 11 a.m. Opening comments from Bob Purdy
- 11:15 a.m. Welcome from Indigenous Muscogee People, the traditional caretakers of the region
- Noon 24-Hour World Paddle For The Planet begins
- Noon conclusion of 24-Hour World Paddle For The Planet
- 6 - 10 p.m. Recognition ceremony: Video recap of the 2013 event, final thoughts by Bob Purdy and Justin Riney. Food, and music under the stars