By Brian Deakyne
RUMSON – The third annual Paddle With a Purpose will take place at Victory Park on Sunday, July 21, and will benefit Mercy Center’s Sisters Academy in Asbury Park and Sea Bright Rising.
The event, which features a new 8-mile stand up paddle race and a 5-mile fun ride for stand up and prone paddlers, is set to start at 9:30 a.m. Sunday. The 8-mile race, that begins and ends in Victory Park, will stretch to the Red Bank Marina.
The fun ride will take place along the Navesink River and on-shore activities will be available throughout the day for out-of-water participants.
“We’re expanding, that’s our goal for this year,” said Ariane Yazdan, director of donor and public relations at Mercy Center, a sponsor of the event. “To add a race component with prize money and to include Sea Bright Rising as a sponsor helped us moved along with the expansion.”
All proceeds from the event will benefit the Sisters Academy, which is an all-girl school in Asbury Park for families with economic issues, and Sea Bright Rising, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping the community of Sea Bright recover from Super Storm Sandy. Since the storm, Sea Bright Rising has raised more than $1.2 million.
Event officials decided to include Sea Bright Rising as a result of Super Storm Sandy and the work the charity has provided to members of the Sea Bright community for about the last eight months.
“We felt in putting this event together for the third straight year, that we needed to give a little back,” Yazdan said. “That neck of the woods has been so good to us; it was our hope to be able to give back with what we could.”
The event includes a free paddle demonstration from Summertime Surf School and Rhizotomy Paddleboards along with a free yoga warm-up session at 9 a.m. by Lululemon Athletica, according to the event’s press release.
Rental paddleboards and kayaks will be available.
“Those groups have been with us since the beginning,” Yazadan said of the organizations that are working with the event. “They’re coming back to work with us for a third year and they really helped us take off.”
For more information about Paddle With a Purpose, visit www.mercycenternj.org/paddle.