Mac Levine Named First Female to Solo SUP the Hudson River
On June 17th at approximately 7:30 a.m., Concrete Safaris' Founding Executive Director Mac Levine became the first woman to standup paddle 138.57 miles from Albany to Manhattan down the navigable Hudson River, in an unassisted journey. Strapping her camping gear and food to her SUP, Levine aimed to bring attention to the importance of outdoor play as a disease prevention tool for children and families.
"New Yorkers have been traveling down the Hudson for centuries, and I wanted to find an inspiring new way to use the river. I followed the lead of Concrete Safari kids who creatively think of new activities to stay healthy, and hope that this nine-day journey inspires others to get active," Levine said.
The journey began from the Albany Yacht Club on Sunday, June 8, with overnights on a farm and an island, at the Hudson River Maritime Museum and private homes, and on the lawns of a few boat clubs. Levine paddled between 9- and 20-miles each day, stopping mid-day for a nap, two meals and a snack, and to document her journey. "I was surprised and delighted by the hospitality of strangers and the enormous beauty of our state. Now the question is where to paddle next, and how to get more New Yorkers on the river," Levine said.
After seeing a Facebook post of friends standup paddling at Manhattan Kayak Company four years ago, Levine tried paddling in Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Mexico, and returned to New York City determined to make SUP part of her life. A recreational speed skater for transportation between her Bronx home and East Harlem work sites, she purchased a used board from East Coast Surf Products in Larchmont and began paddling first out of the protected Spuyten Duyvil Creek before graduating to Inwood's Dyckman Beach on the Hudson River. In July 2013, Levine became an athletic member at Inwood Canoe Club. Levine, known as "Ms. Mac" to Concrete Safaris' students and families, paddles 3 to 6 days per week, year-round and cross-trains by skating and gardening with the children.