Cali Paddler Event Recap! We welcome Team Writer Tiffany to our contributor community and are stoked she was able to share with us her first time at the Standup for the Cure this past weekend. If you haven't checked out this event before, or were there and want to relive it, check it out!
The 5th Annual Standup for the Cure took place under cooler than normal, but beautiful sunny skies in the back bay of Newport Beach, CA; and also so fitting, on the Saturday before Mothers Day. The day stared off with smiling faces to greet each participant, as we were handed a pink event jersey. That my fellow paddlers, was only the start of a wonderful day filled with smiles, hugs, kisses, prayers, laughs, catching up with our paddle buddies, some great paddling and a little more paddling just for good fun.
Standup for the Cure is an event that everyone can get into and appreciate as it brings more awareness to breast cancer and early detection, with the added fun of standup paddling. For many it was a first time paddling event with a safe friendly environment. Over 1,000 people attended the event and all proceeds from Standup for the Cure proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Orange County.
Nearly everyone these days has a family member, friend, or a friend of a friend who is/has battled this terrible disease. I personally have lost three family members to breast cancer and know so many other people who have been affected in some way or another. I had the privilege to share this day with one of these very strong women and happy women – she always has a smile on her face - she is a friend and a fellow paddler. Veronica stated, “Being a breast cancer survivor is not so much about surviving, but it's about living after you survive. That's pretty much what I aspire to do in life. Every day that I wake up I’ve tried not to waste a minute because life is really so precious and it makes me cry just thinking about the women here at this event and all the support from the community; especially the SUP community, has come together that is the event, standup for the cure!” Not only is Veronica a warrior but she is also a Registered Nurse at Kaiser Hospital and works in the Emergency Room.
Over a dozen strong women paddlers were honored for being “warriors” - not just survivors. Hugs, Smiles and tears were shed, it was a very special moment for these ladies. The prayer and blessings were given by Pastor Blaine Sato nicknamed “Sumo” who is also battling his own battle against stage 4 colon cancer. We stood in silence, as the words were so powerful and personal, many held hands and some shed a small tear for good reason. The conch shell was the horn and was the signal to free the four cages of white doves. As the boxes opened and those doves flew so freely, one could say each symbolized something for everyone who was there. Cheers and tears were seen and heard.
In the next few moments a few hundred standup paddle people started to fill the bay, all wearing pink jerseys. It is so fitting that this first circle around the back bay area is called the “Sea of Pink”! And it was a sea of pink, pink and more pink; more experienced standup paddlers were wearing pink costumes of sorts, some paddlers even had their dogs with them dressed in pink. Yes, we Standup Paddlers love to take our four legged loves with us on our SUPs too – and dress them up as well. =-) ! After the “sea of pink paddle” we paddled on with a 5K (two short laps) or 2.5K (one short lap) out and around the safe short course. This was really about all those survivors having a good time. It’s the one “race” of the year that is more about fun than competitive mentality of a race. It was about the survivors and first timers/newbies having fun and getting to experience something different for fun and for them. Big shout out to all those who maybe were on a paddleboard the first time and did the second lap as the wind did kick up a little.
So many people experienced paddling for the first time, others could count their paddling experiences on one hand. For Mary Mallay this was only her third time Standup Paddling but this event is very personal. “Aloha, I'm so excited to be part of this event. My friend Sherry invited me after we paddled out last weekend for the first time and it was so amazing. The freedom and the aloha Spirit just gravitated to me, it's just so tranquil out here. I do want to lift up one my friends that is really battling it out with the Disease. I pray a prayer of blessing over all the women and everybody that are suffering with cancer. Personally my friend Shauna is battling cancer, she couldn’t be here today as she has been fighting breast cancer (which metastasized into her brain) and she had an operation yesterday to remove some of the particles. We just pray a blessing over everyone and just a little hug to everyone.”
After the “race” it was time to chill, mingle and check out the vendors and even get a free skin cancer screening or breast exam. Kaiser provided a safe and free exam to everyone at the event, and to all those who got it, smart! It was only fitting that we had such great vendors such as Purps hydration and coconut waters, Sambazon acai bowls, and Power Crunch protein bars for giving away great healthy samples. People demoed great standup paddle boards from Riviera Paddlesurf, a plethora of brands provide from SUP 2 You out of Laguna Beach, Jimmy Lewis, Bliss Paddleboards, and ULI inflatables and so much more. A tasty and savored BBQ lunch was provided by Newport Rib Co… mmmmmm BBQ. The ladies could try on a SUP ready bikini, capris, shorts and more from one of the many including Local Honey, Tommy Bahamas, and more...
Dancing reggae music played in the background through the afternoon. Special awards went to the teams that raised the most money and were allowed to compete in a four-person relay team, this where the real winners get a chance to be part of something. All in all, “this event will raise around $100,000 dollars with the addition of the Miami FL, Muskegon MI and New York NY, which we will be giving back to those communities and save a lot of lives.” said National Director Dan Van Dyck. As the day slowed down but the feeling of aloha and love stayed in the air, the day came to a close. So many people left stoked on the new found love of standup paddling, some a new appreciation for being healthy and know the importance of regular checkups, made new friends, saw old friends, laughed and cried, shared memories of those they lost but we all came together for a great cause and stoke for life. We Stand up for the Cure, paddle on my friends.