Published: October 11, 2007
On Sat., Oct. 20, extreme endurance athlete and environmentalist Tom Jones will enter the final phase of a three-month-long expedition to paddleboard the length of the entire California coastline. He is attempting to be the first person to travel the 1,250 miles on a 14-foot paddleboard.
Jones’ quest is to raise awareness of the increasing problem of plastic pollution in the oceans. At 10 a.m. at Surfrider Beach and the Malibu Pier, volunteer scuba divers and paddlers will paddle out to welcome Jones in the surf, joining him as he paddles to the beach.
“I started the Campaign for a Plastic-Free Ocean with the idea that everyone has a responsibility to the environment and everyone has the power to make positive change in their world,” said Jones. “My aim is to combine the resources of governments, corporations and individuals to solve this difficult problem.”
A United National Environmental Report estimated that there are more than 5.76 million tons of plastic in the oceans, enough to put twothirds of California in a plastic bag.
Jones set out on his paddleboard on Aug. 4 at the state’s northern tip. He advances southward at 10 to 15 miles a day. His progress can be viewed online with a site map or satellite image.
His daily journal entries read like a pioneer’s: “Aug. 18. Rough day today. There was very dense fog and 8-foot swells. The seas were so big. I lost my board and my paddle. I have a backup board and paddle, and thankfully no one was hurt. The ocean can be a very scary place. Tom.”
At the end of each day his location is pegged to a GPS position. He returns to that point each morning to resume the expedition.
Local Malibu companies and local environmental groups have organized a campaign to attract members of the community and celebrities. The event will raise national awareness about the plastics issue. Money will be raised through the sale of Tshirts, donations and a raffle during a luncheon reception featuring Jones speaking and answering questions at the Malibu Inn.
The event is supported by such populars surfers as Laird Hamilton, Rob Machado, Mickey Munroz and Jericho Poppler. Some of the surfers have helped Jones with his training and joined his support team.
Individuals or companies can participate in the “Paddle Out With Tom” event with their own equipment and form paddle teams to raise pledged donations to help rid the oceans of plastic pollution.
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