He stood on his board for 278 miles…And he stood for something!
This man believes that we as humans have the power to care for the earth we were given. He stood on his board and paddled day after day around the entire island of Puerto Rico to raise awareness for the amount of plastic bags we use that end up in our waterways.
Just to let people become aware and take notice of how they contribute or clean-up their waste on the earth, Mike Simpson along with Will Rich stood up for something they believed in. This occurred just a couple years after he stood on his SUP all the way from the Florida Keys to Portland, Maine for 2,002 miles to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior project.
This man is living out a purposeful and passionate existence.
And around the globe, Stand up paddling is more than just a sport or a fun way to get fit. It’s an avenue of outreach. It’s an opportunity to take a stand for something you are passionate about, while doing a sport that you are passionate about. Stand up paddling has become an incredible way to literally stand up for ocean rights, take a stand against cancer, raise funds for an ailing community member – basically if you believe in it, you can stand up for it.
This morning I went for a run on the beach. After a mile, I stopped and started picking up trash. I decided I could continue on walking briskly and make myself purposeful by picking up our earth at the same time. We were given just this one earth, and this life to enjoy living upon it. Sadly, to some degree we get so wrapped up in our own lives that we misuse or neglect the earth and its other inhabitants from time to time.
But I believe every movement can have a mission. Every passion can also carry a purpose. Every dream can also come with a duty. And that’s what makes life worth standing up for. I recall a man I met at Surf Expo who inquired about a 30 mile paddle myself and several others around the country did for a little girl with leukemia. He exclaimed, “Wow, I would love to do something like that. I love stand up paddling and I’m sure my passion would only be enhanced even more if I paddling for a fundraiser or something.” I loved his enthusiasm so I dug deeper.
“What are you passionate about where you live?”
I was giddy with excitement for this man. “Wow! That is a powerful passion. Why not SUP for some distance in your area and raise money for research on why the dolphins are dying and how to prevent it? Perhaps people in your area don’t even know and would be willing to donate to help save your local dolphins?”
Now he was giddy with excitement. His eyes lit up. “That’s amazing! I would totally do that.”
Just a few days later I got a message from this guy stating, “I’m driving home from the expo and all I can think about is how to get this Stand Up Paddle fundraiser to save the dolphins started. I can’t wait!!”
This is truly taking a stand. This is igniting the passion you were given, with a purpose to keep you going. This is taking your life 1.0, and upgrading to life 2.0 and making life (and SUP) something powerful and productive.
Sure there is nothing wrong with just going out for a paddle to relieve stress, connect with nature, and get a good workout, or catch a wave or two. But within us all, I believe, is a deeper longing, a desire to serve those in need, our waterways, and our world. Someday due to neglect and abuse, you may not have access to the waterway you currently stand on.
If you want to be a part of it, stand up for it. Someday your beach or shore may be shut down from too much debris and trash. If you want to have access to it, stand up and clean it up. Someday you too may be stricken with cancer or other disease that would shake your world to the very core. If you are not immune, as none of us are, then stand up for it.
As I sit here and watch for dolphins off my deck, I’m afraid of a world where the dolphins are extinct and I can no longer enjoy their playful, gentle nature out on the water, so I will stand with my friend as he organizes a paddle to raise funds for the dolphins in his area.
Whatever we can do, however we can stand, whether it’s one mile or 1000 miles, let’s take our passion and turn it into outreach. Let’s reach out to the world with our paddle in one hand and our board under foot, taking care of this one earth and it’s inhabitants.
How about you? What are you passionate about? How can you be one person who makes a difference today. Don’t just sit there, STAND!
[author image=”http://standupjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Jodelle-Fitzwater1.jpg”>Jodelle Fitzwater “Jodelle Fitzwater is the Midwest Ambassador for BiC SUP and Certified Fitness Trainer for SUP TV. She is also a self-proclaimed mermaid because she has no fear of depth and a great fear of shallow living. Find her instructional fitness videos by visiting SUP TV on YouTube and by visiting www.getfitwithjodelle.com “liking” on Get Fit With Jodelle on Facebook.” [/author]