Paddle for the Planet

Words: Thea van der Westhuizen/Dawid Mocke│Photos: John Hishin - Cape Town Sport Photography

Inspiring People

Paddle for the Planet attracted 26 countries to help raise awareness about Marine Conservation. On 1 June 2013, more than 26 countries participated in Paddle for the Planet’s (P4P) signature awareness-raising global paddling relay event. The relay was in the form of a time zone ‘pass-on’, so when one time zone finished, the next one started. In South Africa, Durban and Fish Hoek participated.


Paddle for the Planet (P4P) is an international non-profit organisation that aims to contribute towards sustainable marine reserve conservation across the globe by, a) raising awareness amongst paddlers across the globe about the importance of sustainable marine reserve conservation, b) uniting paddlers across the globe and c) act on our ethical responsibility as paddlers towards marine conservation.



More than 60 paddlers, all dressed in green to support the cause, and the Geriatski’s Surfski Group gathered at sunrise at the Durban Undersea Club, where P4P’s team member Thea van der Westhuizen spoke to them about the importance of conserving the ocean we paddle in daily. Thea went on to explain how the oceans are under threat from pollution, global warming and over fishing, and this has led to the depletion of our fish species, as well as fish stocks being driven down and the beauty of the oceans compromised. “The ocean should be protected out of respect and the intrinsic right marine creatures have to live,” stated van der Westhuizen. The group was also addressed by an expert in Marine Biology, Dr Camilla Floris, who added that, “Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is water. Oceans provide us with essential resources and services, including food, minerals, oil, medicines, and recreation. The ocean also has an important effect on the biosphere, and therefore has a responsibility towards marine conservation.”



Paddlers concluded their 12 km paddle with a breakfast at Durban Undersea Club (DUC). DUC donated R5 per breakfast to marine conservation and raised a total of R3,500-00.


Fish Hoek

Paddle for the Planet in Cape Town was represented by two very brave and hardcore groups that had to contend with an extreme cold front. This made the turnout of 30 paddlers at Fish Hoek and Hout Bay rather remarkable. The crowd from Fish Hoek were all on surf skis, with one solitary kayaker also taking on the 10 km challenge to Muizenberg Beach and back. While at Hout Bay, it was the Stand Up Paddle boarders that braved the weather to do some laps in Hout Bay’s harbour. The events raised just over R1,200-00 for Paddle for the Planet.


Support from P4P

The marine reserve that is supported by P4P currently is Daram, an archipelago of islands in a far-flung corner of Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This region, located off the north west coast of the island of New Guinea, is known to be the most biodiverse tropical marine region in the world. In an area the size of a football field, there are more species of coral than in the entire Caribbean. More than 70% of the known species of coral in the world and 1,200 species of fish live in these clear blue waters. The magnificent islands of Daram are in imminent danger. Their remote location and great distance from the rightful landowners make them an ideal base camp for illegal operations. Without protection, Daram will be decimated by shark finning, reef bombing, turtle harvesting, live fish trade, and illegal logging.


In 2012, over $22,000-00 was raised by P4P and channelled through to the Daram Marine Reserve, where the funds were used to purchase support boats and for the upkeep of the reserve.



If you would like to make a donation to this worthy cause, visit


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