Coven of Paddle-Boarding ‘Witches’ Cruises Around Santa Barbara Harbor for Halloween | Local News

“Woo hoo, witchy woman
See how high she flies

Woo hoo, witchy woman
She got the moon in her eye”
— From the 1972 song “Witchy Woman” by the Eagles

The COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t going to keep these Santa Barbara witches from celebrating their favorite holiday.

And, because they live in Santa Barbara, they didn’t need broomsticks to fly high.

Instead, Saturday’s Halloween gathering featured attendees festooned in black and wearing pointed hats who grabbed paddles and glided on stand-up paddle boards and kayaks through the Santa Barbara Harbor and along West Beach to participate in the first Santa Barbara Witches Paddle to raise money for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

“This was the perfect event, absolutely … out on the water,” Angela Ireland, an enthusiastic coven member, paddling enthusiast and Halloween lover, said of the event during the pandemic.

It was put together in a matter days by Donna Davirro, a local hairstylist who has been a regular participant in the Morro Bay Witches Paddle, which celebrated its 11th anniversary on Friday.

Angela Ireland paddles in full witch’s regalia. An avid stand-up paddle-boarder, Ireland says Halloween is one of her favorite holidays.Click to view larger

Angela Ireland paddles in full witch’s regalia. An avid stand-up paddle-boarder, Ireland says Halloween is one of her favorite holidays. (Felipe Garcia / Noozhawk photo)

“I’d been asking people (in Morro Bay) if they wanted to come along,” Davirro said of putting on a similar activity in Santa Barbara. “And they were all like, ‘If it was in Santa Barbara? Yay!’”

She said it wasn’t until Wednesday when she decided to put on the Witches Paddle.

“I decided, ‘Why not?’ I threw it together, and I can’t believe the turnout,” she said.

Davirro said she used Facebook and friends to spread the word.

“I was so excited when she messaged me on Facebook,” Ireland said. “I love to paddle board, it’s my favorite thing in the world. And, I love Halloween, it’s one of my favorite holidays. So, I thought, ‘What’s better than that?’ And, we raised a lot of money.”

Davirro said the coven surpassed its goal of raising $1,000 for the Foodbank.

“I was thrilled,” she said of the turnout and donations. “I was hoping for 20 people, at least, and it spiraled.”

Her daughter, Kira, put on her witch outfit and participated.

Another participant was one of Davirro’s clients, Nichol Clark, chairwoman of the Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Commission.

“Donna is my best friend,” Clark said. “She’s my longest relationship; she’s been doing my hair since I was 19 years old, and I’m almost 50.

“She paddles up in Morro Bay and wanted to bring (a Witches Paddle) to Santa Barbara.”

The event in Morro Bay started as a group paddle among 12 friends who celebrated birthdays in late October. The paddle also is a fundraiser for the Foodbank of San Luis Obispo County.

The Witches Paddle heads out to Stearns Wharf. The gathering turned and paddled along West Beach before returning to the harbor.Click to view larger

The Witches Paddle heads out to Stearns Wharf. The gathering turned and paddled along West Beach before returning to the harbor. (Felipe Garcia / Noozhawk photo)

Clark switched from a witch’s hat to a city official’s hat and explained that the local Witches Paddle organized by Davirro can’t be considered an “event” because “it’s less than 75 people and there is no special event permit (required).”

The “witches” cackled as they paddled toward Stearns Wharf and returned to the harbor. They were accompanied by a jet skier (Ireland’s boyfriend), who had a skeleton hanging on his back and music blasting. Oingo Boingo’s “Dead Man’s Party” was blaring as they approached the harbor.

Clark admitted that her cackling needed work.

“I need a cackle lesson. My cackle is a little off target. I scared a few dogs,” she cracked.

Clark called herself a once-in-awhile paddle boarder. She pulled her son’s paddle board out of the garage to participate with the other witches.

“I’m terrified of sharks, but (Donna) convinced me I wouldn’t get eaten on Halloween,” she said.

Clark said she had a great time celebrating Halloween with the other witches while living through a pandemic.

“I feel like we’re not going to be doing a lot of Halloween celebrating this year, and we haven’t been very playful in 2020,” she said. “And (the Witches Paddle) helped remember that we can let our hair down, take our masks off, stay 6 feet apart and play a little bit.”

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Santa Barbara Witches Paddle on Halloween 2020 from Noozhawk on Vimeo.

Source Article