Over 300 friends, family and supporters of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation came out Sunday to the Newport Aquatic Center in Newport Beach, Calif. to celebrate NEXT's National SUP Day and raise awareness for Cystic Fibrosis. Events were held across the nation in Orlando, Chicago, Minneapolis and Austin with the goal of getting those diagnosed with cystic fibrosis out on the water.

NEXT's National SUP Day was full of free events and fun including an SUP clinic and free paddle, SUP yoga, kayaking, live music by the Kalama brothers and a presentation on cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis is a chronic disease affecting over 30,000 people in the United States alone. The disease hinders lung and digestive functions, but studies in recent years have reported that inhalation of saltwater mist [from the ocean] helps lung function and partially disables the effects of the incurable disease.

"It's not just another event- it's about family, friends, and raising awareness for cystic fibrosis," said Chris Lohman of NEXT. "About 20 kids with cystic fibrosis came out with their families and today is about getting those kids on the water because otherwise they would be at home getting a treatment," Lohman said. "Instead, everyone is on the water paddling, smiling and having fun with their friends and family," he added. —SC

Photos: Shari Coble

For more information about cystic fibrosis, visit: CFF.org