This weekend, co-founder of the SUP Spot and highly respected ambassador of stand-up paddling, Jodie Nelson, prepares for a historic challenge of being the first woman ever to paddle a grueling 39.8 miles from Catalina Island to Dana Point.
Nelson's "Paddle With Purpose" takes place during Ocean Ohana's annual Catalina Challenge on a Stand Up Paddleboard. The intense journey has only been accomplished by a handful of men solo, and has never been attempted by a woman.
According to Catalina Challenge organizer Chris O'Kieffe, "There have only been three or four men to have ever tackled this feat solo. One of them was Laird Hamilton, the 'godfather' of stand up paddling, and the other, Jared Vargas, whom paddled the race in 2009, beating relay teams that had three to four men per team. But it's very uncommon for people to tackle this race solo."
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Nelson decided to take the challenge of raising money for breast cancer after some people who are closest to her were affected by the disease. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, her aunt is a cancer survivor, and one of her dearest friends is currently battling breast cancer.
"I'm tired of sitting around, feeling like there is nothing I can do," says Nelson in a statement announcing her attempted feat. "I know that I can make a stand against this terrible disease that affects so many people. And I am determined to raise money toward research, education and prevention."
Nelson completed the Catalina Challenge race in 2009 as a relay with another woman. "Last year's race was the most physically and mentally grueling thing I have ever done in my life," says Nelson.
The 2010 Catalina Challenge begins at 8 a.m. Sunday. For updates and more information, visit the website here.