This weekend paddlers from all disciplines around the world will unite in support of World Environment Day on Sunday 1 June as they join the Paddle For The Planet Global Paddling Relay.

Started in Dubai in 2011, Paddle for the Planet is a movement that unites paddlers and watermen for conservation, with the annual Global Paddling Relay as its annual signature event.

The relay runs with simultaneous paddling events starting sequentially, on the same day, at the same time, in every time zone, in each country around the world thereby creating a global relay. Paddlers of any type of paddling craft are united through the Global Paddling Relay.

Paddle for the Planet logo

While it started principally as an ocean paddling initiative, it has gathered support over the years and now embraces all waterways, from seas to rivers, canals, dams and estuaries, in countries around the world.

The International Canoe Federation has also thrown its weight behind the initiative and will ask each of its 160 member federations around the world to add it’s support to the worldwide initiative.

“The promotion of conservation of water conditions across the globe is exceptionally important ,” said International Canoe Federation president José Perurena Lopéz, who is also an IOC Member. “This project is fantastic way to increase awareness of how paddlers worldwide can help to continue to improve water conditions.

“The ICF includes 160 National Federations, all of which continue to do outstanding work to help enhance the global paddling environments. This initiative helps all paddlers across the world raise further awareness of the importance of respecting our environment and the responsibility we each have when on the water,” said Perurena.

Paddlers in many regions will be taking part to raise awareness of a specific environmental issue that is threatening their region, or raising funds for projects in their community.

The Philippines paddlers have committed themselves to raising funds for fisherman on their area that are struggling, and will use an event in Cebu and at the island of Boracay as their main centres, encouraging dragon-boasters, kayaks, surfski paddlers, stand-up paddle boarders and any other paddlers to join the initiative.

Dutch paddlers will converge on Castricum Aan Zee in the north of the country where surfskiers, kayakers and canoeists will unite to form their leg of the worldwide relay.

In South Africa simultaneous paddles will bring together paddlers from a wide variety of disciplines in Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Gauteng.

As part of the effort to embrace paddlers from all of the disciplines that fall under the auspices of the International Canoe Federation, support has been received from top flatwater sprinters, marathoners, wild water/downriver and slalom paddlers worldwide, together with rafters and kayakers.

”When paddling I make a connection with the surrounding water, millions of paddle strokes forms a unique bond,” said Anders Gustafsson, World and European K1 Men 500m Champion and Chair of the ICF Athlete’s committee.

“Conservations of water and marine life worldwide is as important as it is natural to support. The need of clean water and the health of our oceans and the life within is not a luxury but a necessity and as natural for me to support as my need for clean drinking water,” Gustafsson added.

With the principal goal of raising awareness and uniting the global paddling community, paddlers are invited to share their thoughts on the Paddle For The Planet Facebook page at where participating paddlers will be asked to post a status or picture of their group paddling.

More information can be found at where paddlers can download and print out the Paddle for the Planet logo for inclusion in their photographs.

Countries already committed to participating in the 2014 Paddle For The Planet Global Paddling Relay are:
1. South Africa (contact Dawid Mocke or Dave Macleod)
2. United Arab Emirates (contact in Abu Dhabi: Alexandra Jonker, contact in Dubai: Nick Hando)
3. Belgium (contact Vincent Naert)
4. Holland (contact Arjan Bloem or Rolph Overvliet)
5. Hong Kong (contact Dale Rennie and Jo Jones)
6. Caribbean (contact Franck Fifils)
7. Trinidad (contact Elysee Gilbert)
8. Sweden (contact Evy Lantz)
9. Czech Republic (contact Romana Kohlíčková )
10. Singapore (contact Petra Schuler)
11. British Columbia (contact Elizabeth Anne Gowans-Jolly)
12. Phillipines (contact Dale Rennie)
13) Seychelles (Contact Vernon Vogt OR Marc Grobler)
14) Brazil (contact Aldo De Aguiar Falleiros)

28 May 2014
Written by: Dave Macleod

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