KOTA KINABALU, 27 April 2022: What began as a challenge resulted in five friends embarking on stand-up paddling for two days to promote water sports activities and marine wildlife conservation.

In the Paddle For Turtle event, the group paddleboarded from the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort to the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, covering 35 km of coastline waters.

One of the paddlers, Mitch Cini, said that they started the awareness campaign to get people interested in sustainable water sports and to raise funds for the Marine Research Foundation’s turtle conservation project.

“The water sports activity in Sabah is transitioning at the moment. The state has its traditional water sports activities that include popular scuba diving and eye-catching parasailing and jet skiing.

“Now we are moving towards a more sustainable activity that does not significantly impact the environment,” said the founder of Waterfly Borneo.

Such sustainable activities are paddle boarding and e-foiling to replace jet skiing, kitesurfing, and windsurfing.

Mitch, an Australian residing in Sabah, stated that these activities had seen a surge in popularity in the last three years, not only for tourism purposes but also for recreational purposes, with people doing it for fitness.

In their latest project, the group left Shangri-La Rasa Ria on Saturday. They made their way to Pulau Sepanggar and Pulau Gaya, where they spent time teaching the islanders how to paddleboard and raising marine protection awareness. They arrived at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru at 1300 on Sunday. The Sabah Tourism Board is one of participating partners in the event.

Meanwhile, Sabah Tourism chief executive officer Noredah Othman said the state is strong in marine protection efforts, which benefits tourism by allowing tourists to participate in conservation programmes.

“It is essential for us to promote products or activities that enhance the experience of tourists visiting Sabah,” she explained. “Sabah has the most beautiful ocean, beaches, and islands. Our goal is to promote the state water sports activities to visitors while encouraging them to conserve the marine environment”.

For more details on Sabah’s tourist attractions visit: https://www.sabahtourism.com/?locale=en

(Your Stories: Sabah Tourism Board)