Images, inspiration, and a little full-contact SUP carnage at this summer’s SUP 4 Cancer festivities in Hood River, Ore. Photos by Jen Reinhard / Gorge-Us Photography
Professional kiteboarder Tonia Farman launched Athletes for Cancer in 2007 in response to her brother’s yearlong battle with leukemia, the disease that ultimately took his life. While her brother was subject to a suite of medical tests and treatments, Farman resolved, “We needed to do something other than just sit and watch.” The result: a fundraising and athletic challenge for her kiteboarding friends to tap “the healing power of the elements” and raise money for cancer survivors ages 18 to 40 to get their own taste of the outdoors at action sport camps.
A4C’s annual summer challenge has evolved into the Tenacity Games, held this past July in the outdoors epicenter (and burgeoning downwind SUP hotbed) of Hood River, Ore. Besides kiteboarding, this year’s games featured an eight-mile downwind standup paddleboard race on the Columbia as part of the third annual SUP 4 Cancer (SUP4C) festivities. The event, nominated as one of the Top Philanthropic Efforts at this year’s SUP Awards, also included a team relay and a marked course race, plus the ever-quirky, gladiatorial “full-contact” SUP jousting event. In the end, athletes raised $42,930—enough to cover the costs of two full cancer survivorship camps. — Conor Mihell
Some empowering video from one of Farman’s recent athlete camps for survivors: