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A Blog Post

100 km SUP Challenge

Six months ago, the phone rang, and Duff Gibson — Olympic Gold Medalist, Torino — was on the other end, asking questions about paddling Stand Up Paddle boards on the coast of Canada.  I told him I’d happily share all I knew about weather and wind patters, about currents and camping spots… if I coiled come along.  Duff, without hesitating, said yes.  (Thank you Duff!)

The plan slowly morphed, and eventually Duff settled on attempting to paddle 100km in a single day, on Lake Kalimakha (near Vernon, B.C.)  The paddle would be a fundraiser in support  of the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Dare Campaign,  combatting AIDS in subsaharan Africa.

Having never even stood on a SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) before – I had my work cut out for me.  After ordering an inflatable board (these are total game changers, allowing for the easy transport of these traditionally long and awkward watercraft) I began racking up the miles.  Day one; six kilometres left me gassed.  But day after day, week after week, I went back to my local lake.  10km.  20 km.  30 km.  50km.  A week before the event, I completed my last long paddle: an 80-kilometer 12-hour day – and felt ready.

We set off at 4 am, just as the first light warmed the eastern sky.  Hour after hour we plugged away, focussed on maintaining an efficient hull-speed of approximately 6.6 kph.  It was almost 10pm — after 18 hours of paddling — that we finally landed, 100km behind us.

You can learn more about Duff’s astounding fundraising efforts here.

Finally, I wrote a Huffington Post story about the event – and how the simple challenge brought happiness and focus to my days.

The Wild.  Stories.  Now.