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Augaitis, Seychelle, Westbrook & Yang: Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle for Cancer

Posted by SIC Maui on

Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle Vancouver - Photo: Mike Darbyshire 

This past Easter weekend Monster & Sea had 22 teams paddling in cities across the United States and Canada, with SIC Team Athletes Lina Augaitis, Seychelle, Sarah Westbrook and Joel & Coli Yang paddling to help raise funds in Vancouver, North Carolina, Florida and Oregon respectively. Where does the money raised by the Monster & Sea 24 go? They give out donations in $1000 increments to a family in need and how it's used is for the family to decide. This isn’t about research. This isn’t about finding a cure. This doesn’t go to a charity. This is cash, in an envelope, put in the hands of folks who need it. It could help pay the utility bills, or buy some groceries, or maybe take the family away for a weekend to get a break from the chaos.

"This year was year three for Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle for Cancer," said Lina Augaitis, SIC Global Team Athlete. "There were 24 teams from across North America and the total raised is currently over $140,000 and still rising. It's a pretty amazing feat and pretty amazing gift we are able to provide to families in need."

"I lost my mother to cancer eleven years ago so it runs deep in my veins, what cancer is, does and it can affect others and families. I am so glad I am able to give back through doing something I love so much with people I admire and respect so much. The coolest thing is that it allows so many people to be a part of the experience, whether they are paddlers or not. Joining in, supporting on land, supporting by donating, bringing treats, blankets, words of encouragement. For me, also it was very special as this will be another year off racing for me as I am pregnant with my second child and to still be able to paddle over 24 hours whilst three months pregnant is amazing. SUP is such a rad sport for that."

The 24 started in the early spring of 2015, when 6 people in Seattle, led by Troy Nebeker from Monster and Sea did a relay paddle for 24 hours to raise some funds for families who were dealing with cancer. Their goal was to stuff five envelopes with $1000 each and put those envelopes in the hands of people who were dealing with cancer and could use some help at a really tough time. Through generous donations and support, they blew past their goal and raised over $7000, helping 7 families in the process. Last year in 2016, the 24 grew to 7 groups of paddlers from all across the US and Canada, including a Vancouver team, and as a group raised a whopping $50,000, helping 50 families, each from the areas the paddles took place.

Team 24 Vancouver

Lina Augaitis, Mike Darbyshire, Scott Burton, Jason Lexa, Estelle Matheson & David Sweep

Photo: Paul Kendall

"This year team Vancouver has raised $9010 so far," said Augaitis. "So proud of my team and the community." 

(Visit the Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle Vancouver page HERE)

"We had 27 people join us out on the water and many more come out and support on land. We had random strangers stop by and bring us warm coffee, muffins, fruit and other goodies. It was amazing. We were situated in town at a public park. We had three tents and called that home base. Luckily a paddling family also had an apartment about a five minutes walk away in case anybody needed a warm getaway. Everyone but Andrew and I had their cars parked close by as well. We were situated in the heart of Vancouver on False Creek a protected strip of water surrounded by restaurants, high rises, a sea wall and lots and lots of buildings."

Lina Augaitis paddling her X 14.0 Pro-Lite at Sunset - Photo: Mike Darbyshire

"But not too far away, about 5-10 minute paddle in one direction, it opens up to English Bay where the water can get rougher, and where it leads through the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island. You get to paddle from full out urban land to parks, forests, snow peaked mountains in no time at all. It's a pretty amazing vista for sure. We have been having an unusually cool and rainy spring so the mountains still have snow and unfortunately for us it meant a colder 24 hours. We had some light rain to begin with, but the skies eventually cleared and we were delivered a pretty spectacular sunset which we all paddled out on a mega board to enjoy."

"With clear skies though came a cool evening. It was cold, but I dressed warmly. I had a dry suit on with toque and full PFD, ski socks, dry pant socks and rain boots that have a warm fuzzy interior on my feet ha ha ha... The sunrise was equally spectacular and we were blessed with calm perfect waters for paddling the 24. The paddling community in Vancouver and area is unbelievable, the support, the shout outs, and the love we received was unbelievable. It truly was an amazing experience to paddle. It was different, as I was not paddling for me or to prove anything, but for others with others, for a great cause. Good job to everyone involved:) YAY!"

Tavas watching her mom in the office.

Team 24 Florida

Seychelle, Scott Baste, Glenn Davis, Karen Kennedy, Chip Walter, Naomi Berry and our 7th adopted team member Gabe (who Seychelle thinks ended up paddling more miles than anyone else on the team;)

"We were all on SIC boards, which was rad," said SIC Global Team Athlete Seychelle. "Our fleet consisted of an X 12.6 Pro-Lite, an X 14.0 Pro-Lite, two FX 12.6 Pros and two FX 14.0 Pros. We raised $3900 and counting, with out GoFundMe page still accepting donations."

(Visit the Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle Florida page HERE)

"We launched from Paddle the Florida Keys in Tavernier. Unlike most teams across the US, we had warm temperatures and sunny skies. But, the wind was blowing 20-25 mph the entire time and in fact only increased in strength, which proved to be a big challenge. We did a bit of swapping between boards and even held and SIC board demo for anyone who came to the event and wanted to try one out. We also hosted a free group paddle to anyone who came out to support the event, which lead a team of supporters up a very windy and very narrow mangrove creek to a place we call the "Hidden Lake."

"April 16th was also my 30th birthday and the whole crew surprised me with a custom made SIC Maui Custom cake and birthday celebrations. I couldn't think of a better way to spend my birthday than doing what I love best while raising money for a good cause."

Team 24 North Carolina

Sarah Muir Westbrook, Nancy, Tracy, John, Lisa, Greg, Larry, Tracey, Ryan & Steve

"I had followed along the Monster & Sea 24 in 2016," said SIC Ambassador Sarah Muir Westbrook. "So when we were in Nicaragua and chance came up to participate, I immediately messaged John and told him that I'd love to help. It's such a cool movement. Every Monster & Sea Team raises funds for their own community. As unfortunate as it is, we all know someone who is affected by cancer. Team Wrightsville Beach was able to fill six envelopes with $1,000 each. The money goes straight to local families with loved ones fighting cancer. No middle man, no paperwork, no restrictions. Just an envelope full of cash and a note that says, "There is a community of people who love you and are fighting for you. We paddled in shifts for 24 hours. I've already volunteered for 2018.

(Visit the Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle Wrightsville Beach page HERE)

Team 24 Hood River, Oregon

Jhacoli Yang & Joel Yang (Captain), TJ Gulizia, Russel Peart, Luke Burritt, Eddy Patricelli & Karen Parkkonen

"We had a blast on our 24 journey," said SIC Ambassador Joel Yang. "It was perhaps among one of the quieter groups since we also had Portland participate in a 24. We are about $350 shy of meeting our goal, but we are hoping that we can get that fifth envelope in the near future." 

(Visit the Monster & Sea 24 Hour Paddle Hood River, Oregon page HERE)

"We had an exceptionally awesome break in the weather and were greeted by sunny skies and glassy water (unlike the day before that was rainy and choppy). After it got dark, there were pretty much ZERO visitors except for 2 random longboarders that were skating by at midnight to ask us what on earth we were doing. Coli told them about the cause and with no questions they joined, jeans and hoodies and just hopped on to support us during the midnight paddle. This was one of our major highlights as it was quiet out and Hood River had gone to sleep. This however was one of Coli and my favorite highlights, two random guys deciding to join us just because they could. That was something special to us. They weren't paddlers, but wanted to support us from the bottoms of their hearts. The moon was out, the water overall was very calm with a few breezes passing through. A lot of laughter and high fives It was what we needed at that hour."

"Another highlight for us was when Brian Schurton from Brian's Windsurfing saw what we were doing and realized that we missed a major element at our base camp... music. He teaches windsurf and kiting lessons and is set up right next to Big Winds at Event Site, and reconfigured his setup to make sure that we had tunes to accompany us throughout the event. He even stayed overnight to make sure that he could help out when needed."

Joel and Coli Yang paddling tandem on Hood River on their F 16.0

"Coli pretty much paddled non-stop from 8-5 for her first shift because it was important to her that everyone that came by to support got some of her time and that their support meant a lot. The evening shifts we not as creepy as she had originally anticipated as we had ambient lighting that came from the surrounding buildings and a huge, creepy, awesome moon. Coli and I paddled over 14 hours during this event (Coli possibly more). I think that was an amazing opportunity to train while paddling for a great cause. We're so ready to downwind now... enough of this flat stuff!"