Calling all Paddlers! Saturday, July 30th marks Paddlers for Humanity’s 11th Annual Block Challenge. Participants will paddle 18 miles in open ocean from Montauk to Block Island. This experience has been dubbed the “NYC Marathon of the Hamptons.” Since this event was launched, more than $1 million has been raised to better the lives of children on the East End.
The paddle will begin at 7 a.m. on the north side of the Montauk Lighthouse (2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk), will take approximately six hours, and end at Champlin’s Marina (West Side Road, Block Island). Once paddlers reach land, Champlin’s Marina will host a celebration with a catered lunch, including water, beer, and wine, as well as a ceremony. After the celebration, paddlers will be gifted a ferry ride back to Montauk, courtesy of the Montauk-Block Island Ferry from Viking Fleet at 5 p.m.
This challenge is not only for standup paddlers! Paddlers in kayaks and outrigger canoes are encouraged to participate as well. Each paddler must raise a minimum of $1,500 to participate and $750 if you are under 18 years. All participants are also required to wear a life preserver and all standup paddle boarders must use a paddle leash attached to their boards. It is suggested that participants complete a paddle of at least 10 miles before participating in this challenge.
Last year’s race included 52 paddlers, hundreds of donors and many volunteers. A total of $150,000 was raised during the 2015 challenge. This money was dispersed to several local programs including Bridgehampton School District, buildOn, East Hampton Healthcare Foundation, East Hampton High School, Family Service League, Hampton Lifeguard Association, Hoops for Hope, Project Most, i-Tri, Long Island Communities of Practice, and the refugee crisis in Greece.
“The Block Challenge is an exceptionally unique experience. How often does one have the opportunity to paddle in the middle of the ocean and be protected and looked after?” asked Fred Doss, one of the organization’s founders. “Our mission of supporting vital programs for kids, the beauty and peace of the ocean and sky, the physical challenge, the safety provided by the support team, the camaraderie of the paddlers and support team, the laughs, the memories are a few of the many reasons community members should come out to this event.”
The very first Block Challenge took place in August 2005 when a group of 19 fisherman, surfers, and other East End locals paddled out from Montauk Lighthouse to Block Island. This event raised money for Miracle House, a cancer support organization. This event became a tradition by 2008.
Paddlers for Humanity is an all-volunteer, 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization based in East Hampton, New York. Its mission is to better the lives of children, most specifically supporting “innovative and comprehensive mental health programs for kids and youth, including great early intervention outreach, resiliency, anti-bullying and changing behavior through a focus on the positive.” This organization stays as local as possible with its efforts and money raised.
To register for this challenge, visit p4h.org.