SAN DIEGO, California - World Wildlife Fund (the world’s leading conservation organization) went overboard with this year’s second annual Panda Paddle, held on Bonita Cove in Mission Bay San Diego on Saturday, October 26. Nearly 250 paddlers came out for the event (a 10k, 5k and one-mile course) to raise awareness and funds for World Wildlife Fund’s global conservation work, making it one of the largest standup paddle events in the country this year.
Local San Diego musicians Euphoria Brass Band, Pan Diego, and DJ Tigerlily entertained the crowd throughout the day, and festival attendees amplified the on-the-ground activities – via social channels using #pandapaddle – including a panda sand sculpture and local artists’ Teresa Espaniola’s sea turtle mural created exclusively for the event.
Photos: © WWF-US/John Davis
A special celebration even occurred at the finish line: paddler Benjamin Fan proposed to fellow paddler Stephanie Nemeth (both local San Diegans) after they completed the 10k course (she said yes!). Ben and Stephanie participated in their first standup paddle event ever at last year’s World Wildlife Fund’s Panda Paddle, and decided to make this year’s even better.
Jon Cass, WWF’s Panda Paddle event director, said: “It may seem like the problems facing our planet are insurmountable. But there is hope, and everyone can play a role, no matter how big or small, to create a sustainable future. Today’s Panda Paddle offered participants a unique opportunity to stand up for nature and do just that. Paddlers and their friends and family celebrated the beauty of our natural world and raised critical funds and awareness for the protection of wildlife and wild places, all while having fun on the water.”
A highlight of the day. | Photo: © WWF-US/Keith Arnold
For more information, please visit: Worldwildlife.org/pandapaddle2019