Entrepreneur, Explorer, Angel.

Sometimes all at Once.

16TH February 2010

Explorer - Family and Friends - Sport

Let the tide take you… KFAC comes ashore again


KFAC X features Maori island images... sorta.

I was sitting on my porch, listening to the water gurgle peacefully in the pool as it does when I don’t change the filter right proper. I tried to figure out how a fifty dollar bet could end up, years later, launching a small armada of kayaks and a charitable phenomenon. And that’s when I put two and two together.

Kayak for a Cause, the Foundation I founded with Scott Carlin, has been pretty well documented in the press- thank you very much Greg Matusky. But one story that hasn’t been written is this: things happen when they are ready to happen. While I prefer my destiny in my hands, crossing Long Island Sound in a kayak definitely puts that destiny somewhere else. How you deal with it makes all the difference I believe.

KFAC III and KFAC IV illustrate my point.

KFAC III was a death march on water. We put 8 boats in the water. It took most of us 6+ plus hours in withering heat. Some finished in 7+. Some did not finish. Most of us needed transfusions in Long Island. My arm was mummified from the elbow to the thumb, a condition that looks as idiotic as it sounds. (I pulled too hard with the right to compensate for an uneven paddle stroke). We retuned to Connecticut, mumbled a few goodbyes, and headed for home. And half of the paddlers did not- would not- do it again.

KFAC IV was different, you might say. We put 40 kayaks in the water. I personally knocked four hours off my time, and I was basically the middle of an amazing pack that ranged from 2:00 to 3:10 total time. We stuck together, we had a nice reception in Long Island, and we posed for pictures for the media. When we got back to Norwalk, we were treated to a lobster dinner on the beach and the luscious sounds of a diva named MORLEY and her band. We raised over $70,000, about 700% over the prior year. We thought that was a lot.

Since then we have put 1,5000 butts in kayaks and lead them across Long Island Sound. We’ve raised over $1,000,000 for charities tha support our community, environment and leasdership. We have an all volunteer organization of ~50 people to produce the event. And we have a blast doing it.

So, what gives?

Truthfully, it was just the tide, doing its thing both literally and figuratively. Before we hit the water, we caught some good swells. A committed volunteer organization* rallied around us and created our look, vetted charities, recruited paddlers, sourced kayaks and chase boats, arranged land transport, found entertainment, and managed donations. We let it happen, I’m proud to say, by answering most every challenge with simply this; let it take you. We were able to deal with near disasters like being short 15 kayaks at 05:00 and logistical challenges like returning 40 kayaks by land when they had arrived by sea. To match the swell of support on land, we let the currents take us at sea: we enjoyed 3 knots tides, both out of Norwalk and into Northport, with a 5mph tail wind to boot. It was fun.

Where will the tide of KFAC take us next? One thing’s for sure, we’ll stick to the spirit and fun of that $50 bet. And we’ll let the tides take us from there.

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