Epic paddle aims to put focus on saving whales

It’s thumbs up for success from Will (left) and Dave.
It’s thumbs up for success from Will (left) and Dave.

In another 29 days, professional free-surfer and co-founder of Surfers for Cetaceans, Dave 'Rasta' Rastovich hopes to be stepping on to the famous white sand of Bondi Beach.

With him, hopefully, will be four other paddlers who set off from Byron Bay's Main Beach last Thursday in single seat trimaran sea kayaks to complete the marathon 700km ocean paddle to raise awareness of the need to protect whales and the world's ocean environments.

Coinciding with the return of humpback whales to the Antarctic from northern breeding grounds, the paddle called 'Transparentsea' also aims to draw attention to the ongoing slaughter of whales for 'scientific' purposes by Japanese whaling fleets.

The paddlers plan to pull into a beach each afternoon to rest and recover and to join local residents in a beach clean-up.

Starting with Dave, who calls The Byron Shire home, were Byron Bay singer-songwriter, Will Conner, water photographer, Hilton Dawe, free surfer and activist Chris Del Moro from San Diego and Surfrider Foundation general manager, Kristy Theissling.

Guest paddlers will use Kristy's kayak during the journey, but the others hope to complete the entire trip.

“Our intentions are that after 36 days and 700km, we'll have helped educate a lot of people on the beauty and majesty of the whales,” Dave said.

“Plus the impact we all have on what is an amazing stretch of coastline and in what ways we might all implement positive change.”

Before setting off from Byron Bay, Dave appealed to the big crowd farewelling the paddlers, to unite and help to support the causes in whatever way they could.

He said their goal was to get information and the message out to the public and everyone who had an interest.

“We need to get out the message to Kevin Rudd and Peter Garrett so they can step up and do the job they said they were going to do and that is go down and fight sanctuary wars in Antarctica,” he said.

“Right now, the only ship going to Antarctica is Sea Shepherd. This whole trip is about escorting the whales down the coast.”

• F ollow the paddlers' progress at

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