Local paddle boarding legend loses fight with cancer

Former Kelowna resident Bob Purdy, who was famous for his work promoting environmental issues, has died.
Image Credit: Facebook

KELOWNA – A paddle-boarding activist who inspired countless Kelowna residents has died.

Bob Purdy is best known for successfully challenging himself to paddle board every day for more than five years in an effort to raise awareness for environmental issues.

Since he died of cancer on Monday, Jan. 29, friends and fans have been posting tributes to his Facebook page.

Kelowna mayor Colin Basran describes the former Kelowna resident as “a gentle and caring man who touched many lives. He will be missed.”

Bob Purdy is best known for paddle boarding every day for more than five years raising awareness for environmental issues. He died Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Bob Purdy is best known for paddle boarding every day for more than five years raising awareness for environmental issues. He died Monday, Jan. 29, 2018.
Image Credit: Facebook

Chantelle Froats remembers him as a man on a journey to inspire change.

“You were a leader, a mentor, an advocate for our environment, a community ambassador, SUP enthusiast, friend, husband and cheerleader for all who came first, last and anywhere in between. May your legacy and efforts to change the way we live on our planet continue. See you on the water! RIP.”

Cynthia Trone says she had the “dubious” pleasure of paddling with him during a 24-hour paddle on Lake Powell in 2013.

“I made it about 18 hours...but he persevered, dropping to his knees in exhaustion and pain, but never for a moment considered stopping. His triumphant glide through our outstretched paddles and smiles after his extra lap at the end of the excruciating night was an unforgettable example of a man who was committed to a mission of pure intention.”

Image Credit: Facebook

Purdy was paddle boarding in pink tutu when Sara King met him.

"So warm, so friendly, so encouraging and such an ambassador to a sport that I have grown to love. Your appreciation for the great outdoors was remarkable.”

“He’d greet you with a massive hug and smile,” remembers Harry Saini. “You would always leave his presence feeling better…, that was just his aura.”

A group paddle in his honour is planned for Rotary Park in Kelowna this Saturday at 11 a.m.

He was 64 years old.

Tribute to Bob ! from Chris Christie on Vimeo.

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