Fraser Island Stand up Paddle Challenge: Stand Up for the Disabled!


Photo courtesy of Pacific Longboarder

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 8 November, 2007 : – - Two Noosa-based stand up paddle surfers will paddle more than 300 kilometers around Fraser Island, the world’s largest sand island, to raise money for surfers less fortunate than themselves. Chris de Aboitiz and Eugene “Woogie” Te Manu Marsh, both champion surfers and paddlers, will endeavour to complete the first circumnavigation of Fraser Island by paddlers from 26 November.

The six-day John Madill Toyota Fraser Island SUPS Challenge, presented by Golden Breed, will raise money for the Disabled Surfers Association of Australia, specifically to provide surfboards, aquatic wheelchairs and other necessary equipment for the recently-established Sunshine Coast branch.

“First and foremost, this is a boys’ own adventure,” said de Aboitiz, 40, a former world tandem surfing champion who once worked as a Waikiki beachboy. “But Woogie and I figured if we were going to bust a gut doing this, wouldn’t it be great to do it for people who are surfers in spirit but whose disabilities limit their surfing capabilities. We watched some news footage of what the DSA is doing to help disabled people feel the stoke, and we just wanted to dedicate this marathon paddle to them.”

The Fraser Island Challenge is a sanctioned “curtain-raiser” for the 2008 Noosa Festival of Surfing, and on completion of the marathon, the paddlers and Festival patron Pat Rafter will present a cheque to the DSA at a media launch of the Festival in Noosa on 4 December.

Festival media spokesman Darren Landers said: “The Fraser Challenge really puts a focus on the waterman and charity aspects of the 2008 Noosa Festival, and as well as welcoming the boys back after a great effort, on 4 December we’ll be announcing an exciting roll-out of events for next March.”

Sunshine Coast spokesman for the DSA, Ian Felsinger said: “We’ve only just started and so our needs are many. We have plenty of volunteers but we need soft surfboards, aquatic wheelchairs, shade tents, equipment trailers and many other bits and pieces. Any help towards buying these items would be awesome.”

Chris and Woogie will start their paddle at Inskip Point before dawn on Monday, November 26, and proceed north along the western coast of Fraser Island. They will be aiming to achieve more than 50 kilometers progress each day, paddling pre-dawn and into the evening to avoid the sea breeze, then rounding Sandy Cape and surfing down the ocean coast with the prevailing north easterly behind them.

A small support crew will be following their progress and providing daily updates on the Challenge blog. Check out the site and help Chris and Woogie in their support of the Disabled Surfing Association. All monies raised by the John Madill Toyota Fraser Island SUPS Challenge presented by Golden Breed will go directly to buy equipment for the Disabled Surfers Association.

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