The 2014 winners of the Top Philanthropic Effort, Paddle Second Chance, receive a standing ovation for their efforts in helping America's veterans. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

The 2014 winners of the Top Philanthropic Effort, Paddle Second Chance, receive a standing ovation for their efforts in helping America’s veterans. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

Past Philanthropic Effort Winners | SUP Awards

Since its beginning, the sport of standup paddling has been empowered and driven not just by its competitive nature, but also by the camaraderie of the ever-growing community. While competitive events help push the sport to new levels and pique the interest of those outside the SUP community, the philanthropic efforts made from within the industry are the truest testaments as to who makes up our community; while we're a community of paddle and ocean enthusiasts, at our sport's soul, we're a community of philanthropists. And, that's why we highlight the year's most influential charity events at the annual SUP Awards presented by Tommy Bahama, with our award for Top Philanthropic Effort.

In recent years, Standup For the Cure, Surfers Environmental Alliance (SEA) Paddle NYC and Paddle Second Chance have been recipients of SUP magazine's award for Top Philanthropic Effort. Since being awarded for their efforts, the events have continued to increase their charitable endeavors, thus furthering their contributions to the SUP industry and communities here stateside, as well as around the globe.

When Standup For the Cure was voted Top Philanthropic Effort in 2012 (and awarded a $2,000 donation), the organization had a single event in Newport Beach, California, benefiting the Orange County affiliate of Susan G. Komen (SGK). The event highlight, the signature 'Sea of Pink' paddle, has helped raise awareness for breast cancer, as well as funds for free mammograms and education. With the event's outstanding success in Southern California—where they set a Guinness World Record for largest SUP lesson, led by Zane Scheweitzer, and donated upwards of $60k to SGK—Standup for the Cure expanded to include events in London and Miami in 2014. Now in its fourth year, Standup for the Cure has expanded yet again, offering its Newport Beach and Miami events, as well as another stop in Muskegon, Michigan. To date, they've donated $520k to local SGK chapters nationwide.

SEA Paddle NYC received top honors at the 2013 SUP Awards with their unique charity race around Manhattan, as well as the incredible amount of funds raised from the event. The 25-mile race supports SEA's ongoing mission to engage in projects that protect and preserve marine life, surf breaks and beach access, as well as unnecessary coastal development, in addition to supporting various autism non-profits like Surfers’ Healing. Prior to racing, each SEA Paddle NYC participant raises a mandatory minimum of $1,000 to support SEA's charities. SEA Paddle NYC has helped raise more than $1.8 million to date through paddler fundraising, corporate sponsorship and additional efforts.

The SUP community voted Operation Second Chance's Paddle Second Chance event as the Top Philanthropic Effort of 2014 after learning about the positive impact the event's organization had on helping our wounded, injured and ill combat veterans and their families. The event features friendly competition in five-mile and 2.5-mile races, while not only raising funds for Operation Second Chance, but also working to introduce more people to SUP. Initially starting with one event in Millville, Delaware, Paddle Second Chance has since grown to two events, with the second held in Dewey Beach, Delaware. Over the last year, Operation Second Chance has provided financial assistance to hundreds of families nationwide by donating funds for mortgage payments, groceries, daily necessities, housing modifications and much more.

The dedicated work from those of Standup for the Cure, SEA Paddle NYC, and Paddle Second Chance has set the bar high for fellow nominees for the 2015 SUP Awards Top Philanthropic Effort, which include Butterfly Effect, NEXT National SUP Day, Paddle Imua and Tyler's Dam That Cancer. We invite you to take a look at this year's inspiring nominees for the 2015 Top Philanthropic Effort and the four additional award categories and watch for results on, October 8th.