VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A suggestion from a fellow surfer ended up turning into a full-fledged event last week. Dozens of locals showed up to the Jetty on First Street at the Oceanfront to participate in a 'Paddle Out.'
This was to show their support with millions all over the world marching and protesting against racism and police brutality in response to the death of George Floyd and so many other unarmed black Americans in our country.
Surf instructor and organizer Adelane Abcede felt this was a great opportunity for surfers and locals who just love the water to come together and show their support.
"I was struggling to find a way to express my support and there are some folks on the West Coast that are doing this paddle out so why not do it on the East Coast," Abcede said. "Everyone met at the beach and we paddled out and formed a circle, said a few words and had a moment of silence."
For those unfamiliar with what a "paddle out" is, it's a sacred tradition within the surfing community.
"When someone passes away in the surfing community, the way you honor the memory is with a "paddle out," so you can bring flowers or the person's ashes if you want and then you paddle out and say a few words. Sometimes you'll lead a prayer and then you release the flowers and splash and cheer," said Abcede.
The next "paddle out" event takes place Thursday, June 11 at 6:15 p.m. at the Jetty in Virginia Beach. For those that want to participate but don't have a surfboard, no worries, as VB Surf Sessions is offering boards to rent, free-of-charge!
The hope is that the next turnout will be even bigger than the last. To get involved, contact Adelane at Adelane.Abcede@yahoo.com.
Some of the footage and photos used in this story were courtesy of Bryan Brough with EyeCaptures Photography.