A group of about 20 water sport enthusiasts joined Mayor Nancy Gardner this morning for a Paddle With the Mayor event.
“I think it’s really cool,” said Kelly Thompson, who is the Newport Aquatic Center’s outrigger coach. “You cruise, and that’s what you need to get people talking.”
Gardner, who is an avid paddle boarder, guided the group on a 3.75-mile route that started off China Cove, circled Balboa Island and returned to Corona del Mar. City officials provided light refreshments at the end of the 90-minute ride on the China Cove beach.
Thompson brought an NAC outrigger and outrigger students to join the mayor, along with standup instructor Pam Fisher. Fisher and Thompson said they appreciated the mayor’s paddle board enthusiasm, and they presented her with a basket filled with NAC gear.
The city’s past two mayors have held Meet the Mayor events at local libraries and community centers, giving members of the public an opportunity to discuss local issues and private concerns. Gardner, who became mayor late last year, said she wanted more action. In May, Gardner led a Meet the Mayor walk around Corona del Mar and promised to follow it up with a paddle event and other walks in the city; read our earlier stories here and here.
Gardner told the group at the start of this morning’s paddle event that the only rules were to be safe, and that anyone with concerns or questions should paddle up next to her and start a conversation.