Day of surf honors lifeguard and environment

SOLANA BEACH —  RERIP, a non-profit dedicated to keeping old surfboards out of the landfill, the Solana Beach Lifeguard Association, and city of Solana Beach invite the community to the second annual Iron Mike Paddle.

The community event, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 20, at Fletcher Cove will include an all ages, 5-mile paddleboard race (both prone and SUPs), a children’s 1-mile paddle board race for ages 5 to 17, GromO’rama  kids’ surf contest, a surfboard swap, live music, art, a taco truck and beer garden from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The event will include new artists this year, who will transform donated Firewire surfboards into art and then auction them off.  The boards donated from Firewire were not repairable or manufactured incorrectly and the company wanted to repurpose them instead of fill up the landfill.

Created in 2013, the Iron Mike Paddle was inspired by the Solana Beach Lifeguard Association to honor Mike McKay, a fellow guard who died before his time. Known for his strength, friendliness and positive attitude, McKay died at age 23 of injuries sustained in an avalanche at Mountain High Ski Resort in January 2008.  Proceeds from the event will go toward the Mike McKay Memorial Foundation (mikemckaymemorial.org/), which awards various youth scholarships every year.

“The community response was overwhelming last year and we are expecting another successful festival,” said Meghan Dambacher, cofounder of RERIP. “This is a true community-wide event with something for everyone, whether you want to paddle in the race, watch your kid surf in the contest or sit on the grass and listen to live music.

Greg Uruburu, Marine Safety Sergeant for the City of Solana Beach, said the festival is the perfect tribute to McKay. Although McKay was only a Solana Beach Lifeguard for one season, he made such an astounding impact that he was honored as the “Rookie of the Year” in 2007. The annual award, now called the “Mountain Mike Rookie of the Year” comes with a $500 scholarship paid for through the Mike McKay Memorial Foundation.

To sign up for the paddle board race, visit  racemill.com/204. For more information on the race contact Greg Uruburu at (858) 353-1394. For more information on the GromO’rama, contact Evan Luth at evankai77@gmail.com.

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