When I think of big events in our harbor I recall the Flight of the Snowbirds, Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, the Ancient Mariners Hobie Cat regatta and now “Paddle for Privates”. If I was going to use one word to describe this event it would be “Genius” and the word holds true to the founder Mandy McDonnell.
I had a chance to talk with Mandy over the phone this week and go over tomorrows Paddle for Privates costume paddle/beach party and learn a little more about this amazing person. She grew up here in Newport Beach and went through the junior program at Lido Isle Yacht Club. She then sailed for Newport Harbor High and Boston College. On her return from college she was burnt out on competitive sailboat racing but still wanted to return to the harbor. With a quick glance onto the water she noticed Stand Up Paddle boarding or SUP. It became obvious to her that the sport needed a type of club and formed SUP Dog paddling club, which can be found at www.whatssupdog.com. The club paddles every summer night on Thursdays from 6-8 PM followed by an old fashioned beach party or gathering at a partner bar.
As the club grew she looked for ways of starting an event of some type. “But then I thought, I just should just not put on an event it should be for a cause” she said. About that same time her father was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, he is fine but she wished they could have found it sooner. With October being breast cancer awareness month and November prostrate month. “I wanted to bring awareness to all parts of cancer” Mandy explained. Thats when Paddle for Privates costume paddle was born with close to 100 people registered in 2010. This year, Mandy feels that there could be as many as 200 costume paddlers on the water this Saturday.
Just think of the harbor fisherman face as he raises his head up and 200 paddlers, dressed in their most creative Halloween costumes start appearing through the mornings haze and surround his boat.
As long as it’s human powered you can enter. Just go to www.paddle4privates.com and ask if they still have any boards you can borrow.
The Fritz Duda Company has played a major role in the success of the paddle along with Suplove boards who donates a new board for the person who gathers the most donations. This years event will benefit Athletes for Cancer.
The location this year is in Newport Dunes and is best accessed via Bayside Drive. The Dunes management must be saving up for their Tidelands Permits because they are charging ten dollars for parking that day.
Sometime’s you just have to say, I feel like dressing up and making people more aware of how to prevent cancer.
Also, please make sure you give a big shout out to Mandy McDonnell! She is doing more for the future our harbor than anyone can possibly imagine.
LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.
If You Go
What: Paddle for Private
Where: Newport Dunes, 101 N. Bayside Drive, Newport Beach
When: 9 to 5 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $45 online registration, $55 day of; parking: $10