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Coastal clean up from paddle boards proves popular

Armed with trash bags volunteers head down the canal to the bay for San Rafael's Earth Day coastal clean up.
Armed with trash bags volunteers head down the canal to the bay for San Rafael's Earth Day coastal clean up.
- by Rem O'Donnelley

San Rafael's annual Earth Day coastal clean up was held on Saturday. Volunteers went to several locations in San Rafael to clean up stretches of its coast and creeks Saturday morning. The Earth Day coastal clean up had one location that had an extra incentive than just beautifying San Rafael.

Drew Testwuide and his "first mate" Nico enjoy paddle boarding together.
- by Rem O'Donnelley

Near San Rafael High School sits 101 Surf Sports. Volunteers were able to take paddle boards and kayaks out for the day for free if they collected trash while out. This is the third year that the water sport shop has offered this unique program to the community. They are proud to play a part in the program that the City of San Rafael created. “They've (the city) embraced the whole idea of cleaning up the canal which is fundamental in our business. We're all about bringing life and activity and vitality to the canal,” 101 Surf Sports co-owner Cort Larned said.

The event is getting bigger each year. This year there were 19 volunteers who set off in San Rafael Creek, more commonly known as the Canal, to have fun and also pick up trash. It was a good time today to have the event said employee Joe Hanania as he explained after the rain overnight, trash washes into the creek.

An employee since the start of the business, Hanania has also noticed that more people are coming to volunteer to pick up trash from the water. He feels good about the partnership with the city. “I think it's great we're supporting the San Rafael Canal clean up. It really is a waterway with so much potential for growth and to get people excited and doing fun activities outdoors is great,” he said.

Tom Adams lives in town and works in the office of the San Rafael Economic Development. Volunteering for this event is important to him. Although he has done beach clean up before, this was his first time doing it from a paddle board. He said he found out about the event and “it sounded like a good combination of a little adventure and some environmental work as well.”

Drew Testwuide and his dog Nico are often at 101 Surf Sports as he leads kayaking and paddle boarding tours aboard his boat Barbary Ghost. Like other days, his dog was joining him on the paddle board. He says that he often picks up trash from the water since that's where his business is.

He recalls a funny item he found one day. “We found a football helmet out by the Marin Islands that turned out to belong to Marin Catholic. I don't know how it got down there. So we sent them an email and they picked it up,” Testwuide said.

Recent transplants from Southern California were Lara Perlof and David Wright of San Rafael. Perlof used to work for Heal The Bay where she would do beach clean ups. “It's Earth Day so we have to make a difference by coming out and helping clean up San Rafael,” she said.

Look for the event again next year during the city's Earth Day coastal clean up.