Paddling for Autism - Giving Back

I've always felt fortunate in life. So I'm glad when I'm able to give something back, especially through photography.

Surfer's Environmental Alliance (SEA) raises money to support some important issues; specifically, their fund raising benefits groups dealing with autism as well as those trying to keep our precious oceans clean. 

Each year SEA brings attention to those issues with its SEA Paddle NYC event. Participants  raise money and awareness by paddling (stand-up or prone) for 25 miles around Manhattan.

Prone paddler navigating Hell Gate

Prone paddler navigating Hell Gate

The event begins early under the Brooklyn Bridge. Paddlers head north up the East River and through Hell Gate (aka "Hell's" Gate) where rivers and crazy currents collide. Then they turn west into the Harlem River and past Yankee Stadium. After passing under the train bridge they turn south into the Hudson River and under the George Washington Bridge. The paddle ends at Chelsea Piers somewhere between 4 and 7 hours later! 

These are some faces of SEA Paddle NYC.

I'm glad to help raise awareness of this event through photography. Capturing the grueling punishment that is endured for the sake of raising money seems to pale in comparison to effort of those on the water but it's been important to demonstrate what it's all about through images.

The real reward comes when I've seen the faces of those kids with autism (and their parents), knowing that this event, and to some degree my photos, have made a little difference.