Heavy wind forced the six “Monster and Sea” paddlers from Semiahmoo Bay to the relative shelter of the Nicomekl River during their fundraising event over the weekend.
The 24-hour stand-up relay paddle began Saturday (April 13) at 8 a.m. and continued until 8 a.m. the following morning, in an annual effort to raise money for families dealing with cancer.
As of Sunday evening the four Vancouver-area teams, including the squad of six paddlers in White Rock/South Surrey, had raised more than $31,500 for the cause, on a GoFundMe page.
“The amount of support we have had this year has been amazing,” said Scott Burton, the Surrey-based lead organizer of the fundraiser. “This will beat our previous record of $23K raised last year. Usually we continue to get donations a week or two after the event, so this number may rise further.”
Early Saturday morning, Burton said he woke to the sound of rain hitting the side of his Panorama-area house – a sure sign of winds picking up. By mid-day, with paddlers on the bay, conditions were deemed unsafe to continue at West Beach, he said.
“We relocated to the shelter of the Nicomekl River (where we) spent the balance of the 24 hours,” Burton noted. “The rain broke later on Saturday and we had a dry, cool evening. The winds (continued) for much of the night and into the early hours of Sunday, but the conditions on the river itself stayed moderate.”
Burton said he’s keen to organize a White Rock team again for next year’s Monster and Sea, which this year included teams of paddlers at David Lam Park and Vanier Park in Vancouver, and also Deep Cove on the North Shore.
Launched in Seattle in 2015 with six paddlers led by Troy Nebeker, Monster and Sea (monsterandsea.com) has grown to include 40 teams in locations across North America. Last weekend, the fundraiser was held in White Rock for the first time, with paddlers on the Go Fund Me page listed as Scott, Jim, Natalie, Mike, Tobey and Kristy.
Donations from the event are given in $1,000 increments to a person or family dealing with cancer, and how it’s spent is up to them to decide, Burton noted.
“This isn’t about research, this isn’t about finding a cure, this doesn’t go to a charity,” he said. “This is cash, in an envelope, put in the hands of folks who need it. It could help pay the utility bills, or buy some groceries, or maybe take the family away for a weekend to get a break from the chaos.”
To donate, visit gofundme.com/ms-24-vancouver-2019.