stand up paddle stand up paddle Charity events, such as the recent Maui Paddle for a Cure, have started gaining popularity in the rising sport of stand up paddle. (Photo: Hyatt/Butterfly Effect)

Stand-up paddleboard (SUP) making waves for charity

One of the world's fastest-growing water sports is also a rising force in the world of philanthropy.

Interested in an easy way to improve your balance, build muscle tone and have a great time out on the water? Try a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). The water sport, one of the fastest growing in the world, is attracting attention from both young and old thanks to its easy learning curve and fitness benefits. Want to race with the wind? SUP has you covered. Drift along and admire the view? Go ahead and relax. Take your yoga outside? Downward dog, meet paddleboard.

As the stand-up paddle sport has expanded, so too have opportunities for enthusiasts to come together and support charity. One of the biggest to benefit so far has been the fight against cancer, with SUP fundraisers scattered all around the world. Below are three of the many making a difference through a shared appreciation of SUP, the great outdoors, and helping others.

1. Maui Paddle for a Cure

paddleboard mauiIn support of Breast Cancer Awareness month, more than 150 paddleboarders hit Maui's Ka’anapali Beach for a 2-mile open paddle. (Photo: Hyatt/Butterfly Effect)

Last year's inaugural Maui Paddle for a Cure attracted more than 150 paddleboarders to Ka’anapali Beach in Hawaii. Sporting pink shirts, participants took to the water for a 2-mile, non-competitive open paddle to help raise money for the Hawaii affiliate of the Susan G. Komen breast cancer foundation. An afterparty, hosted by the Hyatt Regency and the nonprofit Butterfly Effect, featured Tihati dancers, serenaders and Hawaiian star performer Anuhea.


2. Israel Starboard Paddle for Hope

Starboard Paddle for HopeThe 2014 Starboard Paddle for Hope in Israel drew more than 300 paddlers, making it the largest SUP event in the country. (Photo: Starboard/Paddle for Hope)

The 2014 Starboard Paddle for Hope drew 300 paddlers and more than 1,000 spectators to Israel's Caesarea beach. Pink flags, boards, paddles and t-shirts hit the waves in a massive race to raise awareness and funds for local breast cancer charities. As part of Paddle for Hope's mission to weave fun and creativity into their events, participants were also encouraged to don pink wigs, capes and anything else that might add some flair. The organization's next event is slated for this November.


3. Newport Beach Standup for the Cure

stand up for the cure newportNow in its 4th year, Standup for the Cure is one of the largest SUP non-profits – with events in Newport Beach, Miami and London. (Photo: Harry Wieavel/Stand up for the Cure)

Since its first event in 2012, Standup for the Cure has raised more than $350,000 in the fight against breast cancer. The organization's Newport Beach fundraiser in California is one of the largest in the world, with over 1,000 participants on the water. In addition to races and open paddle courses, the event also features instructions from international paddleboarding experts, yoga paddleboarding clinics, and plenty of food and drink and local entertainment. The 2015 Newport Beach event is slated for early May, with future Stand Up for the Cure races in places like Miami and London scheduled for later this year.

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