O’Neill Team Racer Rob Rojas and Annabel Anderson Are Top Finishers in SEA’s Elite Race
NEW YORK, NY (Aug. 19, 2011) – Nearly 150 stand-up paddle boarders hit the Hudson, Harlem and East Rivers on Friday, August 12 to complete a grueling 26.5-mile charity paddle and Elite Race around Manhattan. After an incredible day organized on behalf of eight autism charities, The O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC successfully raised more than $350,000 for its beneficiaries and Surfers’ Environmental Alliance’s environmental projects. Paddlers and Elite Racers celebrated the fifth-annual event with after-parties at the Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club and Harbour Lights Restaurant, both at the South Street Seaport.
“We had an incredible turnout for this year’s SEA Paddle,” said Andrew Mencinsky, SEA’s Executive Director. “The support of our paddlers, donors, sponsors and volunteers made this year’s event an incredible success for our beneficiaries. It’s a privilege to advocate for autism awareness and the environment in one of the greatest cities in the world.”
In addition to the event’s charity paddlers, SEA’s Elite Race welcomed top competitors from the SUP industry. O’Neill team racer Rob Rojas successfully circumvented the island of Manhattan in just three hours and fifty-six minutes, taking top honors and $1,500 in prize money sponsored by Down Under Kayaks and Surf Shop. New Zealand’s Starboard team rider Annabel Anderson took first place in the women’s SUP division and second place overall, finishing in just four hours and 11 minutes. Lending a helping hand in support capacity, extreme waterman and big wave champion Garrett McNamara supported paddlers via a waveJet powered SUP.
"The O'Neill SEA Paddle NYC was very, very challenging. The event means a lot; obviously it is for a great cause. I wanted to do well, make my sponsors proud and win for two important causes - autism and SEA. I mean, we're in New York City and who doesn't want to win in New York City,” said Rob Rojas, Elite Race Winner and O’Neill team racer.
The O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC and Elite Race began at Manhattan’s Pier 40. Racing north on the Hudson River, paddlers made their way past notable New York City landmarks including the Intrepid Aircraft and the George Washington Bridge. From there, the SUP caravan paddled past Yankee Stadium before making their way to the East River via the legendary Hells Gate. Nearing the end of their journey, paddlers and Elite Racers made their way under the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, and finished at the north side of the South Street Seaport. Sambazon Acai, one of the leading producers of the super fruit, provided acai beverages to race participants throughout the paddle, in addition to supplying early morning acai breakfast bowls.
Following the 26.5 mile paddle, participants and supporters celebrated at the fifth annual White Water Evening. Sponsored by Avion Tequila and Dos Equis, the gala exceeded the boldest of celebratory expectations, and even prompted a wedding proposal from within the crowd.
The 2011 Paddle and Elite Race were fundraisers for eight autism beneficiaries and Surfers’ Environmental Alliance. Funds raised currently exceed $350,000, with more donations still to be calculated. To learn more about the Elite Race or the O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC, please visit www.seapaddlenyc.org.
About Surfers’ Environmental Alliance (SEA)
Surfers’ Environmental Alliance is committed to the preservation and protection of the environmental and cultural elements that are inherent to the sport of surfing. SEA’s goals are achieved through grassroots activism, community involvement, education and humanitarian efforts. The non-profit organization successfully engages in projects that strive to conserve the quality of marine environments; preserve or enhance surf breaks; protect beach-access rights; and safeguard the coastal surf zone from unnecessary development. To learn more, please visit www.seapaddlenyc.org .
Presenting sponsor O'Neill is a perfect fit with Surfers' Environmental Alliance and this event. All O’Neill products are engineered to allow comfort and maximum flexibility, while providing protection from the elements, in and out of the water. O’Neill offers everything a paddler needs from full suits, UV protectant tops, board shorts, PFD’s, eye wear, and a whole line of products made from 87 percent recycled plastics. O'Neill’s commitment to skin cancer awareness continues through its endorsement by the Skin Cancer Foundation for the third year in a row. In this year’s O'Neill SEA Paddle NYC, the race jerseys are something special and unique to O'Neill. Each Jersey worn by competitors offers 50+ UV protection, which will further help to spread the company’s message, "DON’T GET BURNED!"