Joe Surf: Stand-up paddleboarding in fight against cystic fibrosis

May 09, 2012|By Joe Haakenson

There are surfing fundraising events all over the world that do wonderful things to support worthy causes, but there is no cause that is more directly connected to surfing than the efforts to raise money and awareness in the fight against cystic fibrosis (CF).

About five years ago Australian doctors had a group of patients who seemed to be doing better than others, and it was discovered that all of them surfed. Turns out the misty, salt air helped lubricate their lungs.

Cystic fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lung and pancreas. The average life span of someone with CF is the mid-30s.


Because of that discovery, a "hypertonic saline" treatment was developed, mimicking the breathing of that salt air. Now more that 70,000 with CF use those treatments.

Of course, many CF sufferers would rather surf than do a hypertonic saline treatment, but surfing is simply too much exercise for some. So what's the next best thing?

Stand-up paddleboarding, of course! (Aka SUP)

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has teamed up with NEXT Swimwear and will hold the inaugural NEXT National SUP Day on June 10. There will be events throughout the country, in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis and Orlando, as well as right here in Newport Beach at the Newport Aquatic Center.

The event will feature SUP demonstrations, food, games and appearances by professional SUP athletes. It starts at noon with a free SUP clinic.

"Through the generosity and support of companies like NEXT, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is able to share the exciting benefits of these sports with the CF community," said Michael Shumar, the executive director of the Orange County chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. "We are grateful for their support and excited to be part of a national celebration of stand-up paddling."

For more information, go to

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will also hold its annual fundraising gala, Pipeline to a Cure, on July 14 at the Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort and Spa.


Author of 'The Descendants' to speak in O.C. on Friday night

The Surfing Heritage Foundation will host a special event at its museum in San Clemente on Friday when it presents "An Evening with Kaui Hart Hemmings."

Hemmings is the author of "The Descendants," which was turned into a movie of the same name starring George Clooney and recently won an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

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