Standing up for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity
by Staff Writer
Thirty-five racers gliding down Lake Norman on Saturday, Oct. 8 might have surprised those passing by. No, they weren’t walking on water – they were competing in Aloha Cup 2011, a stand-up paddleboard race and fundraiser for Our Towns Habitat for Humanity.
The first race started at 10:30 a.m. on the water behind Vinnie’s on the Lake, with the advanced and intermediate paddle-boarders racing four miles. A two-mile race followed for recreational boarders.
Rob Bennett and his staff demonstrated some other stand-up paddleboard activities, like yoga and wakesurfing.
People who donated to Habitat for Humanity could try stand-up paddleboarding.
Jaquie Waller had never been on a paddleboard before Saturday but said she had a great experience.
“I was expecting to fall. I wore my bathing suit under my clothes,” Waller said. “I was surprised by how steady it was.”
For Waller, stand-up paddleboarding is an opportunity to combine interests on the lake.
“I kayak, but I’ve always wanted to surf,” Waller said. “This kind of brings the two of them together.”
Bennett didn’t rush new boarders, but he didn’t waste any time getting them on their feet.
Boarders start on their knees in the middle of the board. Waller stood up slowly, balancing and paddling within minutes.
Our Towns Habitat for Humanity Director of Resource Development Tammy Cox sold raffle tickets and collected donations with volunteers on Saturday. The event raised $950 for Habitat for Humanity and helped publicize Habitat and My Aloha, she said.
“It’s been a very positive event,” Cox said. “Not only have people gained a new awareness for the sport, but it’s also been a really great event for Habitat, giving us the opportunity to get out and talk to people.”
Cox and volunteers signed up paddle-boarders interested in volunteering and spread the word about Habitat opportunities, especially for its Youth United program. Habitat volunteers must be 16 years old to work on construction sites, but younger children can volunteer for landscaping days, fundraisers and other special projects like making gifts for homeowners.
Bennett contacted Habitat, wanting to plan an event and donate funds, Cox said. My Aloha and Habitat for Humanity will be partnering up again for a bigger event in Spring 2012.
Bennett discovered stand-up paddleboarding in Hawaii and brought the growing sport closer to home when he opened My Aloha Paddle Sports and Fitness in Cornelius in April.
Although the weather is turning colder, Bennett said the stand-up paddleboard season is far from over.
“The only thing that gets wet is your feet,” he said.
Mac Barnhardt, four-mile race winner, started stand-up paddle boarding with his family four years ago. His daughter, 13-year-old McIntyre, finished second in the two-mile race.
Barnhardt, a windsurfer, recognized stand-up paddleboarding for its health benefits.
“It’s safe for everybody, and great for us. The kids see a board and a paddle and they just hop on,” he said. “We spend more time together as a family than ever.”
Want to know more?
For more information on My Aloha Paddle Sports and Fitness, visit www.stand
uplkn.com/ or go by the shop at 18919 Catawba Ave., Cornelius.
To volunteer or donate to Our Towns Habitat for Humanity, visit www.ourtownshabitat.org or contact Cathy Petriano at email@example.com or 704-896-8957, ext. 108.