Toggle Nav v k

Panda Paddler’s Conservation Cafe

To help you get ready for this year's Panda Paddle, August 4-13, WWF is hosting a series of discussions with influential Panda Paddle participants and WWF experts. These hour long virtual sessions are a chance to engage with other Panda Paddle participants and learn something new at the same time.

We hope you can join us for these discussions!

Black Surfing Association's Lou Harris and Panda Paddle's Race Director Anthony Vela
Wednesday, August 2, 2023
10:30 AM Pacific / 1:30 PM Eastern
Watch Recording

Lou Harris is the East Coast founder of the Black Surfing Association (BSA). The BSA provides free surf lessons for children who normally wouldn’t get the opportunity. Lou's message is “keep kids busy so they stay out of trouble.”

Panda Paddle's race director, Anthony Vela, grew up an hour from the beach in Southern California, swimming on a team since the age of 4. Although he lived far from the beach, he developed a keen interest in the ocean and waves. At the age of 20 he became a LA County Lifeguard and worked the next 20 years on the beach. In that time, he also competed in surf contests and represented the US in various ocean racing events.

Charles Sumpter is Senior Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). He joined WWF in 2022 and previously worked in consulting and government at both local and federal levels. At WWF, Charles has responsibility for the overall development and implementation of strategies and initiatives that advance DEI both internally and externally, while also working to foster an environment where WWF is employer of choice.”

Director Valerie Weiss & WWF's Nicole Chabaneix
Monday, June 26, 2023
10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern
Watch Recording

Valerie Weiss was Panda Paddle 2022's top fundraiser. As captain of the Water Bears, she led her team to victory by raising over $7,000 for nature. Valerie is an award-winning filmmaker and scientist most known for her work on Outer Banks, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Mixtape, and Echoes. As a passionate conservationist, she will also be discussing her experience fundraising for WWF’s important mission.

Nicole is a senior specialist on WWF’s Climate Adaptation team, working on climate-smart conservation and nature-based solutions. As a conservation biologist/ecologist specialized in social-ecological resilience to climate change, she works with WWF country offices across the world to reduce the vulnerability of people and ecosystems to climate change impacts. She is originally from Peru and enjoys spending all her free time in nature, including going camping and hiking, photographing wildlife, and surfing or paddle boarding near her home off the coast of Lima.

Photographer Vincent Shay & Dr. Alison Cross
Monday, July 10, 2023
10:00 AM Pacific / 1:00 PM Eastern
Watch Recording

Vincent Shay, a wildlife photographer, will join us to share some great stories from the field. He is from Avila Beach, California and has been taking photos for 35 years now. In recent years, he has been concentrating on taking photos of local California sea life like whales and sea otters.

Dr. Alison Cross leads a team at WWF that is dedicated to solving some of the world’s biggest conservation challenges for wild-caught fish and marine wildlife. She has helped over 50 fisheries on six continents engage in efforts to identify and address barriers to meeting global best fishing practices to ensure healthy fish stocks, minimal impacts on marine species and ecosystems, and effective fishery management systems. She has specific expertise in using the leverage of the private sector to incentivize wild-capture fisheries to improve their environmental performance and supports the fishery sustainability efforts of leading US seafood buyers.

2022's Panda Paddle Pro Series

Watch recordings of last year's Panda Paddle pro series for paddling tips from some of the pros of the paddling world!

Maggie Hogan
Watch Recording

Maggie is an American canoe sprinter, former collegiate swimmer, and former member of the U.S. National Canoe and Kayak Team. Maggie competed in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro for canoe sprinting.

April Zilg
Watch Recording

April a US Champion standup paddleboarder, winning last year's Women's Graveyard Race at the Caroline Cup. She also completed her Masters of Science in Deep Sea Coral Reef Ecology at the University of North Carolina.

Danny Ching
Watch Recording

Danny is one of the most decorated outrigger and SUP paddlers in the world. He is the first non-Hawaiian to win the grueling Molokai to Oahu OC-1 race and has won all 8 Battle of the Paddle overall victories.

Candice Appleby
Watch Recording

ESPN W calls Candice “Abby Wambach, Serena Williams, Brittney Griner and Danica Patrick all rolled into one. She’s talented, fiercely competitive, tremendously well-respected and a true ambassador of the sport.”

*Webinar dates, times, and hosts are subject to change

Photo copyrights: Maggie © Maggie Hogan / USOPC, April © Laura Glantz, Danny © Scott Shannon, Candice © Nate Dappen / Day’s Edge Productions / WWF-US