Virtual Paddle Out to Celebrate Love of the Ocean

We come to love the sea for many reasons. What are your fond memories of the ocean? That is the question social media maven Beth Kanter is asking as she uses her digital savvy to organize a virtual "paddle out" ceremony to memorialize her father. #OceanLoveEarl is a unique social media campaign created by Beth to celebrate her father's love for the ocean whilst generating support for Surfrider Foundation. Dr. Earl Kanter was a respected obstetrician, early adopter of surfing, lifeguard, and like Beth, a lover of technology.


Surfers have long memorialized fellow surfers by way of a paddle out. Traditionally, participants paddle out, sit on their board, join hands in a circular formation and have a moment of silence, chant or exchange thoughts. Sometimes flowers, lei's or ashes of the deceased are tossed into the circle. This campaign mimics those elements. Everyone is invited to unite in the virtual world by sharing fond memories involving the ocean, URLs to causes related to ocean conservation, or a link to her fundraiser by using the hashtag, #OceanLoveEarl, on Facebook and Twitter.

I came to love the ocean as a young child spending countless summer days on the beaches of Southern California with my family. Building sandcastles was among my favorite activities only to be topped off by roasting marshmallows over a fire pit. As high tide rolled in, I knew the ocean would wash away one castle only to create a blank canvas for another masterpiece. The ocean taught me a powerful life lesson: I could always start over and create something differently beautiful.

It's your turn. What is your favorite memory of the ocean? Tell us. #OceanLoveEarl

Beth is the co-author of nonprofit bestsellers, The Networked Nonprofit and Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. Read Beth's tribute to her beloved father on her blog.