Dozens of people gathered at Kelowna’s Rotary Beach on Saturday to pay tribute to Bob Purdy, the Okanagan’s best-known paddle boarder.
“He was an amazing man. He was so inspirational, and just everybody loves him,” Barb Purdy, his sister, said.
Purdy, who was 64, died Jan. 29 after battling cancer.
He was well known for paddling 2,100 days in a row to raise environmental awareness.
Purdy also starred in the award-winning documentary The Paddler.
READ MORE: “The Paddler Movie” premieres in Kelowna
“I think he was like a David Suzuki on a paddle board. That was his passion,” friend Paul Mend said.
“He shared love, you know? When you met Bob, you just became a friend, and it was lifelong,” he said.
Above all else, Purdy is remembered as a gentle, loving soul — full of colour who brightened the lives of those around him.
“We’re sporting the pink tutus today — that was kind of Bob’s trademark. He would show up at races and have his pink tutu on, and he was just that kind of guy,” Mend said.
Paddle boarders planned a waterman’s sendoff for Purdy at several locations, including Victoria, Tofino, Deep Cove and Kelowna.
Paddlers on the water gathered in a circle and raised their paddles in the air.
According to a Facebook post, the goal was “to carry on with his legacy of bringing people together to change the way we live on the planet.”