Friday, June 22, 2007

Waterman Challenge

Imagine paddling 3.6 mph over the course of a few days to travel 175 miles. Crazy? Not to Kevin Horgan, who'll be doing just that, barring any weather-related delays, from New York City to Newport, Rhode Island beginning June 29.

Horgan is a water fanatic and an expert at paddle surfing, a fusion of canoe paddling and surfing. In fact, last summer, while standing on a 12-foot board and paddling with a seven-foot paddle, he became the first person in recent history to have paddled the four major channels in the Hawaiian islands.

Horgan is also the brother of Harry Horgan, the founder of Shake a Leg in Miami, an organization that creates water-based programs for kids and adults with disabilities as well as disadvantaged youth. Harry himself is in a wheelchair, due to an accident many years ago, but it’s never stopped him from pursuing his passion for the water and from encouraging other people to do the same. (He even worked with the build and design teams behind the 153-foot Genesis, now known as Argyll, to ensure the yacht’s passages were wheelchair-friendly.) Kevin says he’s always looked up to Harry and wanted to do his share to raise awareness of the power that water has to be many things to many people: “The ocean doesn’t care if you’re on a surfboat, in a wheelchair, or on a sailboat—it just is.”

Thus the Waterman Challenge was born. Various sponsors, including Shake-a-Leg, are supporting Kevin’s efforts, but regular folks like you and me are donating as well. Everyone who gives a donation of $100 or more receives a special Waterman Challenge T-shirt. You could also win a stay at the NamiNori House in Hawaii and the chance to learn to paddle with Kevin. For more information, click here.

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