Let Troy Nebeker, the Founder, tell you in his own words what they’re about, in a nutshell:
“Monster and Sea was inspired by a morning on the water when there wasn’t much left. Mentally drained from all that cancer brought into my family. Honestly – didn’t know what to do.
In those moments when you are at the end of yourself – things can become very clear. Give back. Make use of the skills you have to do some good and help. Create a brand that inspires people to celebrate being alive, being healthy and being able to step outside and go where the day takes them.
So how do you start? It’s simple. Go. Don’t waste another second reading or wondering or searching for the snooze. Grab the coffee, put the boards up and go. Go because you can.”
The Monster and Sea Crew just completed a 24 hour paddle to raise a bunch of money in a short amount of time to help families struggling with cancer. They donate directly to the families, handing out their “envelopes,” with cash to pay the bills, buy some groceries, lighten the load.
Why a 24 hour paddle?
The short answer: because they can.
That’s the Monster and Sea motto: “Go because you can.”
Because you never know when you won’t be able to. Because there are many people who can’t. Because this life we live is beautiful, even in its darkest hours. I think that’s why Mullets have become such close friends with the Monsters. Every now and then we need to be reminded of the crazy wicked awesome in this world. If I ever get a tattoo, it will probably be “Go because you can.” Troy, does that need a TM on the end?
The long answer: Troy said “I heard what Rob Rojas was doing. (A 24 hour paddle to raise funds for Ocean of Hope, which benefits the Sarcoma Alliance.) I thought ‘That’s a really neat thing to do. I don’t have the endurance chops to do it myself, but I can get together a handful of guys who can do it with me.'”
Even the long answer is pretty simple. Grab some buddies. Give back.
“We set a goal of $5,000. We raised $7,250 in less than 30 days. Donations came in from all over the country–from Instagram followers, from Mullet readers, from people who have purchased things.”
He continued, “The community of paddlers constantly amazes me. People attracted to the water are so supportive, in general. In the Seattle community and beyond, people have supported us with kind words, money, breakfast–two local paddlers just showed up with breakfast! People on the water–in boats, kayaks, houseboats–encouraged all of the teams as we paddled by.”
Nuts and Bolts
What: A 24 hr relay style paddle – 6 paddlers in teams of two swapping out every hour. Total of 40 miles for each paddler.
Why: To raise funds for families arm wrestling with Cancer. And to inspire people to get out and go because being healthy is a precious thing.
Where: Lake Union, Seattle Washington.
When: Start April 4th, 8a.m and finish April 5 at 8 a.m.
They set up the paddle as a relay with three teams of two. Urban Surf in Seattle served as home base for the paddle on Lake Union.
Troy sent us some info about the team members, compiled by Renick Woods.
“Beau Whitehead: Arguably one of the most well known paddlers here in the PNW. But that is only a small part of the story. His job is all about putting others first – a protector and helper of those in need. Quick with a smile and a how can I help – Cancer isn’t going to know what hit it.
Renick Woods: A paddler, surfer and all around waterman. Humble, strong, loving, and a heart for helping others only matched in size by his smile.
Spencer Slaven: A motor. Always on. Always humble and hard working. Pretty sure he would give you his right arm if it came off.
Graison Polenda: The youngest of the crew at 11 – but don’t let it fool you. His heart is huge and his love of helping others is huge.
Troy Nebeker – Love for the water and giving back. As one person it is difficult to make a difference. But as a community, that is a different story. Cancer won’t know what hit it.”
(Photo of group from Beau Whitehead)
On the Water
The paddle was structured as 24 hour relay style paddle. Three teams of two paddled an hour at a time–tapping out each hour. “You’d have two hours off, but by the time you got up to Urban Surf and ate and toweled off, you had maybe 40 minutes. I think we each slept about one hour that night. We started together, all six at 8 am, all six paddled together again at midnight, and then all six to finish. The neat thing was that people joined us throughout the day.”
“We had about 15 people for the midnight paddle. The conditions were phenomenal the whole time–we were paddling on glass. Because we were in Lake Union, the heart of the city, the lights illuminated the lake.”
“Rennick and I had the 4 am shift, and that was a hard hour. After a certain point you’re tired. You can lose perspective when water is super glassy which is only amplified when it is 4 in the morning and you’re a bit wobbly.”
The youngest member, Graison Polenda (11), is a member of the Downwind Warriors. His team members joined him for different shifts throughout the paddle.
While on the water, boaters came up to the paddlers. “I had a guy say to me ‘Hey we saw you on the news. Can we give you money now?’ A guy handed us $40 in the middle of the lake.” “Rennick Woods sent out some press releases and KING 5 was there at the start, sent out camera guy midway, and at the end they came and videotaped everybody. They were like ‘Can you come to the studio to be interviewed?’ We were exhausted, but of course we went!”
Troy has no shortage of people to help, and plans to keep raising funds through the online shop and other fundraisers. “I’m starting to plan for next year. Now that that I have proof of concept, we can do it again.” He hopes it is something he can expand to other areas of the country. “People can mirror it, setting up paddles in multiple places across the United States. Who knows what it could be. There’s something here that people can rally around. I’m excited about the next steps for sure.”
I asked him how he found the people he helps. “The sad part is that cancer is so prolific that there are a lot of people who are dealing with it. I go to church. People show up. A family will be in front of me maybe they have a 15 year old daughter that has terminal cancer. I know that must be someone who should get an envelope.”