Kelowna resident and founder of Paddle for the Planet Bob Purdy is moving with his wife to Tofino to continue his environmental efforts.

Stand up Paddler Bob Purdy taking environmental movement to Tofino

After five straight years of paddling and 50 years living in Kelowna, the ocean calls The Paddler to Vancouver Island

The paddler is moving to new waters.

After almost five years of paddling his stand up paddle board every day in Kelowna and area, and after 50 years living in the community, Bob Purdy is taking his SUP board and heading for Tofino.

Purdy has decided it is time for change and will relocate to the Vancouver Island community with his wife Sharon.

“It’s been difficult and exciting, that is often the nature of change,” Purdy told the Kelowna Capital News. “I have lived in Kelowna for more than 50 years, and it is with mixed emotions that Sharon and I are moving to Tofino. It is difficult due to the many friends and familiar places we will be leaving behind here in Kelowna. It’s also exciting to look forward to connecting with new friends and exploring new places in Tofino.”

Purdy began his mission to change the way we live on the planet on New Years Day in 2011, calling it Paddle for the Planet and setting a goal of paddling for 1,000 days in a row to raise awareness to the damage done to the environment by humans.

And while change may come slowly, Purdy never wavered in his commitment to his one-man-mission, paddling each and every day, through winter and tough weather conditions for (as of this Sunday) 1,737 straight days.

Purdy’s movement gained plenty of traction, sparking similar movements throughout North America and other parts of the world and culminating with the first annual World Paddle for the Planet day in June of 2012.

His efforts were also made into an award-winning documentary, appropriately called The Paddler.

“I started Paddle for the Planet to ‘Change the Way we live on the Planet,'” he said. “My original paddle goal was 1,000 days and I figured that should be enough time to ‘Change the Way we live on the Planet.’ To see the reach Paddle for the Planet has had is incredible to me. I have had so much support. Iit is impossible to name everyone that has helped us get to where we are.”

Purdy says while he is moving away from the Okanagan, his efforts to impact change in the world won’t end when he leaves and he has committed to continue to paddle board each and every day.

In Tofino, he has found his calling.

“The ocean is calling,” he said. “I first visited Tofino in 1971 and have wanted to move there ever since. The clincher was filming the movie. We did four location shoots there and had our third World for the Planet Day in September last year. The community wrapped their arms around us and in addition to the friends we already had, we met and got support from a bunch of new ones. Like Kelowna, Tofino is a treasure that needs us to step up and protect it. Unlike Kelowna, it is on the ocean and our oceans are facing significant challenges that need immediate change from us.”

Purdy has organized one more public event in Kelowna before he floats on down to Tofino. This Saturday at Rotary Beach at 1 p.m. Purdy will host a Mahalo Kelowna Paddle to say thank-you to Kelowna and the people that have helped him along the way. And he says it will be a fitting closure to a huge chapter in his life.

“Every time our message gets out, we see change happen,” he said. “It’s time to change the way we live on the Planet. We’re just getting started.”