Bob Purdy frequently had to dust the snow off his paddleboard and chop through the ice on Okanagan Lake on his way to setting a remarkable record of 2,100 consecutive days paddling.
The veteran Canadian paddleboarder, founder of the Paddle for the Planet movement, expects sunnier climes and calmer conditions in Grand Cayman this weekend.
Mr. Purdy has teamed up with Cayman organization Keep Calm and Paddle On to host his annual Paddle for the Planet day on Seven Mile Beach.
Cayman’s paddleboarders will gather at the beach before the Flower’s Sea Swim on Saturday to paddle and raise money for charity. An 80-mile crossing from Little Cayman to Grand Cayman originally was planned as part of the weekend events, but with rough conditions forecast, Keep Calm and Paddle On’s Jasmin Muratagic said that may have to be truncated to a 30-mile paddle.
Similar sponsored paddle events will take place all over the world at noon in different time zones on June 10 to raise money for various charities.
“We have people taking part in Abu Dhabi, Puerto Rico, North and South America. It is a truly global initiative,” said Mr. Purdy, who initially created World Paddle for the Planet Day to raise money for environmental causes.
The proceeds from this year’s event will go to Keep Calm and Paddle On, set up to use the sport to support Cayman charities, including the National Council for Voluntary Organisations’ foster home and for the Special Needs Foundation Cayman. “There are lots of events going on all over the world for different causes, but we are encouraging everyone involved to donate to KCPO,” said Mr. Purdy.
“This is the sixth time we have held the event, but the first time I have gone international with my own personal paddle.”
Mr. Purdy, from Kelowna in British Columbia, is also the subject of a documentary, “The Paddler,” which will be screened Friday night at Duke’s bar and restaurant on West Bay Road, following a family fun day on Seven Mile Beach. The fun day includes free lessons, races and clinics at Public Beach, starting at 2:30 p.m.
The movie focusses on his five-and-a-half years of paddling on consecutive days in all types of weather and his dedication to the cause of environmental awareness.
“My message was simple. We need to change the way we live on the planet. My aim was to encourage and promote change in whatever form that takes,” he said. Saturday’s event brings to an end a week of paddleboarding activities in support of Keep Calm and Paddle On.
Mr. Muratagic urged anyone interested in the sport or in supporting the two charities to come out on Friday or over the weekend.