On a sparkling summer day he would have loved, Josh Canning’s family, friends and colleagues returned to one of his favorite places — the ocean — on Tuesday to honor his memory, a week after he was fatally injured in a bicycle accident.
Several dozens people on surfboards, paddle boards and kayaks — along with a group on a cabin cruiser — held a “paddle out” just offshore from Arroyo Burro Beach. Many more onlookers watched the gathering from the shore.
The parking lot at Arroyo Burro was overflowing with cars as people flocked to the shore to pay their respects to a man several friends described as “the quintessential Santa Barbara guy who loved surfing, biking, beach sunsets and his huge circle of best friends.”
Just after midnight, police received a call reporting an injury traffic collision on Cliff Drive near the Flora Vista intersection, and responding officers found Canning lying in the roadway. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
He had worked for the city since 2007 as the senior plant operator at the El Estero Wastewater Treatment Plant.
His family is asking for people to make donations to Heal the Ocean in his name in lieu of flowers by mailing them to P.O. Box 90106, Santa Barbara, CA 93190.