Annabel Anderson: Paddling for Humanity

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Like most things, it’s more fun when you do it together.

For this very reason Paddle For Humanity has always been on my favorites list ever since I accidentally ended up at my first one in Washington DC back in 2011.

1175593_509619292464543_1088966990_nMy DC experience was so such fun that I’ve hunted out PFH events ever since.

It’s no surprise that I jumped at the invitation to head to the land locked southern city of Austin, Texas for my next PFH experience.

This coming weekend, the paddlers of Austin and beyond unite for the latest edition of Paddle For Humanity on the inner city Lady Bird Lake.

Complete with the ordinary and the extraordinary PFH events always have some kind of surprise up their sleeve.

Along with the both 5k and 10k options, pre and post event parties, everyone is invited to take part in the final event of the day, otherwise known as Rule 7.

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It’s not quite known how the Rule 7 came about, but it’s characterized by ‘no wining, no whinging, potential sabotage, obstacles (a few may remember the sand assault course the Chuck Patterson devised at Dana Point one year) and more.

It has been known to switch paddles for broomsticks, boards for inflatables and not just be confined to paddling.

The best bit? You never quite know what might be in store except that you should expect the unexpected and be prepared to roll with laughter at the entertainment that ensues.

Welcome all types of paddle craft the two day festival of paddling fun kicks off on Friday and continues through until Saturday afternoon.

It’s an event that is as much as about the sharing of knowledge as the sharing of stories and experiences (quite possibly over a pre or post event beverage on Friday or Saturday afternoon).

Join me as I host the All-Star Paddle Clinic on Friday morning at Abel’s on the Lake from 8am – 12pm. Be sure to register to secure your spot. This is one clinic that you will not want to miss.

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Like all PFH events, it’s as much about the off water action as the on water action and the event festivities kick off on Friday afternoon with the Pre-Registration Party at Abel’s on the Lake.

Join me and hundreds of others for two days of Southern fun and hospitality.

To register and find all the event information, click here http://www.paddleforhumanity.org/html/Events-Austin.html

No board? No problem, note it on your registration and you can still partake in the festivities of the weekend.

When we think of paddling, we may automatically think of SUP, but it is so much more than that. Surf skis, outrigger canoes, prone paddling are all unified by the human force generating momentum through stroke to propel themselves are all invited to take to the water this weekend.

Registration Information

http://www.paddleforhumanity.org/html/Events-Austin.html

Events

Friday All Star Paddle Clinic

Friday Pre-Registration Party

5k

10k

Rule 7

Saturday Post Event Party

The Story behind Paddle For Humanity

Paddle for Humanity was brain child of Pete Stirling and his former business partner Macon Brock.

The founders of the Watermans sunscreen brand, they wanted to create something that helped others experience the same reasons why they loved the water and loved to paddle,

What separates Paddle For Humanity from the proliferation of events that have popped up around the globe in the past five years is that it’s more about the paddling and the after party than who paddled the fastest. Yes, this the event where everyone’s a winner both on and off the water.

A symbol of unity, it’s an event that is characterized by utilizing the best of the local environment has to offer, be it a beach, a river or the closest local bar.

Rooted in philanthropy, it was the plight of a good cause that gave these two guys a reason and purpose to bring their event idea to fruition.

It was in the fall of 2008 that Stirling and his Waterman’s wingman Macon were at a fund raising event for Surf Aid International. Both were moved by what the fledgling organization was doing and pledged to do something to help. Paddle for Humanity was born and in the years since, a minimum of 20% of registration fees has gone to charitable organisations, either the nominated choice of the participant or the benefactor of the event.

SUP was in its infancy, there were a handful of races at the time and stand up paddlers were beginning to regularly attend the races.

“The first year we paddled at Doheny State Beach for SurfAid International and immediately afterwards we started receiving requests to take on additional non-profits, recalls Stirling.

“Our solution was to give the paddlers a choice of whom they wanted their donations to go to.  The model was simple, 20% of all registration went to the selected or their nominated not-for-profit organization and the paddler was free to raise additional funds as he or she saw fit.

“We started moving into new territories as well.  Deerfield Beach was our first East Coast destination. It changed the whole way I looked at the event series and we immediately started to look for ways to not only raise money and awareness for our NPO partners, but also show paddlers the social and political power of our community if we all act as one.  Two months later we held our first event in Washington, DC.

“DC is a ridiculously athletic and young community that runs, bikes and, more recently, swims. I think close to 70% of the people that showed up were on inflatables, with their paddles backwards and gear ranging from wetsuits, vests, helmets and dive knives to one guy that did the whole event in pants and a button up shirt.

“When we showed back up the next year over 200 people, from as far away as Miami and Vermont… SUP in DC was never the same.

As PFH develops, expect to see it continue to grow, to visit new locations and fulfill the goal of bringing the paddling community together.

PFH is for everyone. Something for the whole family to enjoy any way they saw fit, be it the competition or community camaraderie. It is rarely sticks to one format, instead adapts to the local environment and culture.

Former and present PFH locations include:

  • Doheny State Beach, CA 2009-2011
  • Deerfield Beach, FL 2010-2012
  • Washington, DC 2010-2012
  • Lake Tahoe, CA 2012
  • Newport Beach, CA 2013
  • Austin, TX 2012-Present
  • Minneapolis, MN 2013-Present
  • Pensacola Beach, FL Present