Huge shout out and a giant thank you to @101surfsports for hosting a fabulous benefit paddle race for @riversforchange last month! It was a great day and we were able to collect some extra trash that was flushed out from the tsunami. We raised $3000 to support our projects of connecting people to rivers through source to sea adventures, conservation, and education. Thanks to everyone who came out for your support!

We have done a lot of cleanups and charity paddle races as a family.  The Rivers for Change Charity Race and trash cleanup at 101 Surf Sports on Saturday, January 15th was our families most memorable and unique experience so far.  The tsunami that occurred roughly 5000 miles away had brought very dynamic waters to the usually calm San Rafael canal.  We can remember thinking that the surges we had witnessed coming through looked more like a current we might see at the Golden Gate Bridge or a strong river current than the typical canal flow.  A brand-new paddling experience was about to take place as we boarded the Supzilla and we were excited to be a part of it all.  

We met our Captain John Dye and loaded up the Supzilla with our dog, Rocko, at the helm.  With the 55-gallon trash barrel in the center of the craft we headed out to the canal to join other paddle race participants with the goal of collecting as much trash as possible.  The plan being that we collect trash as we go and throughout the race each racer would bring whatever trash they could carry to us and add that to the barrel.  We entered the lineup for the 2-mile race and when the horn blew to start the current surges were on.  We made our way down the canal, with expert eddy-hopping navigation due to John Dye’s experience. Rocko was barking and cheering on the racers the whole time!  At one point while collecting trash we witnessed paddlers that appeared to be moving backwards or on a treadmill due to the strong current.  These currents made it very easy to collect trash, which thrilled our sons.  To quote them, “This is what we love to do, and the tsunami was going to wash a lot of trash into the ocean, so we felt like this is what we should be doing.  Plus, the currents bringing all the trash to us made it very fun!” We filled up the barrel with things such as, whipped cream cannisters, soccer training cones, balls, bottles, cans and Styrofoam.  We collected huge and very heavy oil-soaked logs that were too big for the barrel and balanced them onboard the Supzilla.  As we crossed the finish line to the clanging cow bells and loads of cheers, we had many other racers bring up the trash they had collected on the way. The barrel was full and so were our hearts!

Our family hopes that the impact from participating in events like these inspires other families to help clean up their neighborhoods and communities supporting and educating each other in healthy living on our planet.  We also hope this event can assist others in educating themselves on water safety and the power of nature in all forms.