29th Annual Paddle For Clean Water Especially Relevant After Major Oil Spill

Beach lovers and ocean enthusiasts from throughout San Diego County made a statement in support of clean water at Surfrider Foundation San Diego County’s 29th annual Paddle for Clean Water on Sunday, Oct. 3 at the Ocean Beach Pier.  

“The Paddle began as a protest in the 90’s, but it’s morphed into an annual awareness event over the years,” said San Diego Chapter Manager, Mitch Silverstein. “It offers San Diegans an opportunity to come together, build community, and participate in a massive display of solidarity for the protection of our coastline. Elected officials and decision makers cannot ignore us.”

Over 400 paddlers joined in the effort – the majority on surfboards, along with stand up paddlers and even a couple swimmers – in the annual paddle around the Ocean Beach Pier. The paddlers thundering chants – “What do we want? Clean Water! When do we want it? NOW!”– felt especially relevant after Saturday’s major oil spill off the Orange County coast.

Launch footage from the pier from Derek Delacroix @derekdelacroix

paddle '21 photos

Click the links below to view event photos! Several volunteers documented the event, along with photographers from our friends at Swellco. All photos are available for free download at the links below. Please credit photographers and tag @surfridersandiego #paddleforcleanwater if you post or reshare, thank you! 

The event kicked off at 9am with a 30 minute beach yoga session from Nikki Rae Bose, owner of Reunify Yoga in Ocean Beach.  Bagels and coffee were provided for paddlers, followed by live music from Iron Sage Wood. CA Assemblymember Chris Ward (D78) said a few words re: the climate crisis and the previous day’s oil spill. 

After the paddle and a group photo, event emcees’ announced the day’s prize winners, which included a custom surfboard by Sunset Cliffs’ Keith Melville as grand prize. Local surf rock band T.Rexico closed out the event with a bang. Local radio personality and longtime Surfrider supporter Chris Cantore assisted as event emcee, as he has done for over 10 years. 

Onsite event sponsors included presenting sponsor Fresh Clean Tees, Pure Brewing, Athletic Brewing, Soul Session, Dr. Bronner’s and Swellco, plus local non-profit collaborators Paddle 4 Peace, Un Mar de Colores, Gather by Charity Wings, San Diego Coastkeeper, San Diego River Park Foundation, Project Clean Water, Urban Surf 4 Kids, Groundswell Community Project, and Native Like Water. 

“The beach is ours to enjoy, but it’s also ours to protect” adds San Diego Chapter Chair, Alex Ferron. “Ultimately we’re here to build community around the importance of clean water, drive awareness for the issues threatening our coast, and highlight the solutions Surfrider San Diego and our partners are putting in place to address those threats. Let’s celebrate the beaches we love and stand up for their protection.”