This weekend of June 3-4 will likely see more paddlers on the water than ever, as the worldwide paddling community unites for the seventh annual Paddle For The Planet global relay as a show of solidarity to protect the worlds waterways and oceans and to raise funds for the environmental conservation projects close to the paddlers hearts.
The relay takes the form of informally organized paddling sessions co-ordinated by paddlers who train and race in recreational or competitive canoes, kayaks, surfskis, dragonboats, outriggers and stand-up paddle boards in every corner of the globe, hoping to improve on the 28 nations that participated last year.
This year paddlers have already confirmed paddles-outs in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tahiti, The United States, Dubai, South Africa, The Phillipines, Trinidad and Tobago and Doha, with many other paddling communities set to join in on the day and post pictures and videos of their participation on the Paddle For The Planet Facebook page.
The global relay is a show of unity in support of waterway and marine conservation and is formally backed by the International Canoe Federation.
Each of the regional paddle-outs is encouraged to identify and support a waterway or marine conservation initiative, and support it through fundraising or volunteering to assist with its operations.
Last year the program raised R60 000,00 for the pioneering Booms, Bins and Bags project operated by the Durban Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) on the Eastern seaboard of South Africa, which uses new physical barriers to trap plastic waste before it pollutes rivers and estuaries in urban areas of KwaZulu-Natal.
The project has been hailed an unqualified success, and is being seen as a blueprint for the roll out of preventative measure elsewhere in the world.
“At its heart, Paddle For The Planet is a conservation initiative, and an annual wake-up call to focus attention on environmental threats to all our rivers and oceans,” says projects director Dr Thea van der Westhuizen. “But just as importantly it is a special opportunity for paddlers from every walks of life to symbolically join hands in this global relay."
More information can be found at www.paddlefortheplanet.org