Father and son to paddle from Montauk to Block Island
Most visitors to Block Island arrive by plane or ferry, but on Saturday, July 23, approximately 85 people will arrive by paddle-board, kayak, or canoe. They will have spent about six to seven hours completing
their journeys, while the ocean’s waves roll beneath them, many standing up. It’s all for a good cause.
The occasion is the Paddlers for Humanity 2022 Montauk to Block Island Challenge, an 18-mile open ocean paddle, with an additional mile added on so paddlers may land at Champlin’s Marina. The
event will start at 6 a.m. and end sometime between noon and one with a post-event celebration. That is, if the weather permits.
According to its website, p4h.org: “The Block Challenge brings together a community of women, men, and students to achieve a goal beyond themselves - undertaking the physical and mental challenge
of an open ocean paddle from Montauk to Block Island, with the purpose of bettering the lives of children.”
Block Island resident Jeffrey Smith thinks the event is in its fourteenth year, and this will be the local surfer’s ninth time participating. As in the past, he will be joined by his son Jayden, also an experienced
surfer, and perhaps others from the island.
Smith told The Block Island Times that the event is never guaranteed. Conditions must be just right, with a southwest wind between five and ten knots. And the tide must be right, too. If the event gets canceled, it might need to be delayed an entire month before Saturday’s anticipated conditions can be matched.
Signing up is not to be taken lightly. Paddlers must raise or donate at least $1500 to participate. The money goes to causes mainly in the Montauk and East Hampton areas on Long Island, but they have also donated to the Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad and organizations around the world. Giving is along the categories of mental health, education, hunger, and health, nutrition and wellness. They also have a catastrophic fund that supports individuals and families in crisis in the Montauk and East Hampton community. To date the organization has given away $1.96 million.