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.


Joshua Canning

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.”

Canning, 44, a City of Santa Barbara employee, was killed in the early morning hours on July 7 when he was struck by a vehicle on Cliff Drive.

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.

Canning graduated from Santa Barbara High School in 1987, and went on to Santa Barbara City College and UCSB, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies.

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.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at lcooper@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.