Santa Barbara Maritime Museum Logbook

Home » Museum Logbook » Celebrating the Santa Barbara Channel: World Champion Surfer & Event Honoree Shaun Tomson Leads Paddle Out for SBMM

Celebrating the Santa Barbara Channel: World Champion Surfer & Event Honoree Shaun Tomson Leads Paddle Out for SBMM

Where: Leadbetter Beach, Santa Barbara
When: Sunday, June 6, 2021 from 1:00-4:00 pm

For those who couldn’t make it to Leadbetter Beach on Sunday afternoon, the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum held its First Annual Paddle Out for SBMM (drone footage) on June 6, 2021. Reported by KEYT on the evening news, the event was a great success and attracted a host of noted and energetic paddlers, including 1977 World Surfing Champion Shaun Tomson, Surfboard Shaper Renny Yater (who was paddling for the event at Leadbetter Point), First District Supervisor Das Williams, and author Teresa Newton-Terres.

This past year was a difficult one for nonprofits everywhere with Covid restrictions limiting fundraising events and revenue from all sources. So, with the creativity unleashed by Covid, SBMM’s staff acted on a novel suggestion made by legendary surfer Shaun Tomson for a way to raise money for its educational programs. Asked about his suggestion, Shaun replied, “I am a huge fan of the Maritime Museum and its mission. I thought an outdoor event would allow all members of the community to connect directly with the Museum, the ocean and the Santa Barbara Channel.” Shaun’s idea? A Paddle Out for SBMM!

The inaugural Paddle Out for SBMM focused on the museum’s mission “to celebrate the Santa Barbara Channel and illuminate our rich connections with the sea” and invited the community to participate in the event by paddling a self-powered craft, watching from the shore, and creating Love Letters to the Sea with museum art educator Sondra Weiss. Beginning with a blessing by Barbereño Chumash Tribal Council members Marcus Lopez, Sr., Steven Villa, and Marcus Lopez, Jr., the day went from cloudy and cold to warm sun and blue skies in time to see the paddlers enter the water on Leadbetter Beach, led by Shaun Tomson and Das Williams. Once out in the water, the paddlers took the opportunity to gather and toss flowers into the ocean in memory and honor of many who had gone before. Teresa Newton-Terres added seven flowers in honor of the loss of the men aboard the Raytheon research vessel Marie on June 7, 1960.

The 40+ paddlers and a group of generous sponsors raised more than $46,000 in vital operating funds for SBMM’s exhibits and experiential education programs such as Marine Science, Ocean Connections, Maritime on the Move, Love Letters to the Sea, Girls in Ocean Science, and more – all of which encourage the protection and preservation of Santa Barbara’s fragile, limited natural resources for generations to come. Many thanks are due to those sponsors, including:

Channel Champions: Andy & Mary Jane Cooper, Mimi Michaelis, Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Foundation, Chuck & Mary Wilson, and George & Judy Writer
Heritage Heroes: Don Barthelmess & Carol Kallman, Tim & Louise Casey, Emmett Foundation, and Montecito Bank & Trust
Coastline Crew: Arlington Financial Advisors, Ed & Ann Brady, Carpinteria Dory Company, Garland & Brenda Reiter Family Foundation, HUB International Insurance: Darren Caesar/Steve Woodward, Teresa Newton-Terres, Paddle Sports, Leslie & Dennis Power, Peter Schuyler & Lisa Stratton, Real Life, Susan Sheller & Bob Roe, and Sigrid & Bud Toye

Full article (PDF)

Photo credit: Robert Schwemmer

Older Posts


Support the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

Maybe there's a happy little waterfall happening over here. A little happy sunlight shining through there. Take your time. Speed will come later. God gave you this gift of imagination. Use it. Once you learn the technique, ohhh! Turn you loose on the world; you become a tiger. Work on one thing at a time.