Tauranga team’s 46km paddleboard for charity

Shane Todd, Jamie Bell, Riki Darroch and Elliot Thomas are embarking on a Lake Taupō challenge. Supplied photo.

A group of Tauranga friends are set to paddle board and kayak across Lake Taupō this weekend in order to raise money and awareness for charity.

The crew of mates are taking on the challenge today, with the money raised going toward the I Am Hope Gumboot Friday initiative, as part of the Key to Life Charitable Trust.

Jamie Bell says he and his mates are always looking to do a fundraiser on a yearly basis. Being fitness fanatics the challenge of traversing the 46km journey across New Zealand’s largest lake carries immediate appeal.

“We have found that if we put our bodies on the line or we do something to do with fitness, because that is what we are all into, then more people are likely to donate,” says Jamie, who also says he and his fellow challengers have been raising money by doing a burpee a dollar at Bout Fitness in Pāpāmoa.

Altogether, their fundraising has helped them surpass a $5000 target on their designated Givealittle page.

Jamie says there are a total of eight paddle boards and two double kayaks being used for the challenge.

They also have a support boat supplied by Trev Terry Marine Automotive, with their own potential fleet currently locked down in Hamilton.

“There is a fair group of us,” he says.

“We probably won’t be going in a straight line so it might take a while, probably about 10 hours.”

Raising money for a charity which aims to improve mental health outcomes seems apt on a paddle board, according to Jamie.

“Well we go out every summer and paddle board at Pilot Bay or even a couple of weekends away at Mangakino,” he says.

“We have found it is a really good way to relax as well as being a really good way to test our bodies.

“It is good for the body and mind. 

“So it is a cool challenge and we just thought, why not Lake Taupo?”

Jamie says the decision to donate the money and raise awareness for I Am Hope was an easy one, given how inspiring they find Mike King, the driving force behind the movement, and their own personal stories.

“Just how passionate Mike King is with it,” says Jamie, when explaining the decision.

“We have also got a few mates who have gone through the mental health barrier or gone through that pain so it was an easy choice.”

I Am Hope aims to help kiwi kids receive free mental health counselling and support when needed. Jamie says looking out for the next generation also played a role when it came to choosing the charity to benefit from their physical labour.

“We have all also got kids,” says Jamie.

“So we thought why not do something that can help our kids right now who are going to be our future leaders.”

To donate and read more about the challenge visit the team’s Givealittle page here.

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