Three watermen, Scott Bradley, Ed Cashin, and Fred Doss — and one waterwoman, Shelter Island’s Amanda Clark, a two-time Olympic sailor — were among the honorees at Monday’s Old Montauk Athletic Club holiday dinner.
Bradley, who recently won his age group in the world paddleboarding championships’ 11-mile open-water race in Cabo San Lucas, was the club’s athlete of the year. Cashin, who oversees the Exceed Fitness studio on Plank Road, and Doss, a consultant to nonprofit organizations, were the recipients of OMAC’s community service award.
A native of Sayville, Bradley, who also has eight Ironman triathlons to his credit, and who cited Cashin’s training regimen as the reason for his competitive paddleboarding success, took to the water at an early age. “My mom taught me how to surf on Fire Island when I was 9,” he said during an interview at Cashin’s studio Saturday morning. “I hung out with the local Dutchmen on the bay, dug clams, swam, surfed. . . .”
Sixteen months ago, when he began to seriously train with Cashin, Bradley, a Clydesdale competitor in triathlons, weighed 240 pounds. He’s a trim 195 now.
“There’s paddleboarding and then there’s paddleboarding,” Cashin interjected. While the great majority held the paddle in front of them while gliding along on the water, “Scott uses 100 percent of his core and doesn’t bend his elbows when he digs in. I’ve developed a specific upper body endurance program for him. We call it ‘the Bradley.’ ”
“Hawaiians have used paddleboards as a mode of transport for 100 years,” Bradley said. “It goes even further back in Indonesia. It’s only been in the last 10 years that it’s become a popular sport. Laird Hamilton, who has been pushing the limits in all the water sports, surfing, windsurfing, and paddling, has put it on the map.”
Asked what he loved in particular about paddleboarding, Bradley, who was a swimmer and threw the javelin in college, said, “It’s something I’m passionate about. . . . It’s not all about racing. At the end of a stressful day at work, it’s just you and the paddle and the water. No distractions. It doesn’t have to be long . . . 20 minutes will do.”
Paddleboarding, he added, was a sport for everyone. “It can be whatever you want it to be.”
Not only has the sport served to unite Bradley, Cashin, and Doss as athletes, but also as serious fund-raisers.
Doss, whose proposed start-up, Good Circle, would have companies sponsor nonprofits “in a very creative way,” and who first met Cashin when they were Miracle House board members, estimated that since the founding of Paddlers 4 Humanity in 2004 — primarily at Cashin’s suggestion — the organization had contributed about $800,000 to various nonprofits here and in New York City, among them the Retreat, the East Hampton Day Learning Center, and the Montauk Community Playhouse Aquatics Center.
“Just about all of what we do is for the benefit of children and families,” said Bradley, whose fellow P4H board members are Doss, Cashin, Lars Svanberg (who also competed in the recent world championships), Dan Farnham, and Christine Moynihan.
On the subject of children, Doss said he would meet soon with East Hampton High’s principal, Adam Fine, to set up a chapter here of buildOn, which, with the help of high school students, builds schools in developing countries. Paddlers 4 Humanity has given $15,000 to get that “life affirming” chapter started here, he said.
Paddlers 4 Humanity’s events in the coming year will include a half marathon in Hither Hills on May 5, a four-mile paddle for women on Gardiner’s Bay on July 14, a swim-paddle-run at Maidstone Park, “to integrate the different athletic communities,” in late July, and a Montauk-to-Block Island paddle — “kayakers are welcome,” said Doss — on Aug. 3.
“We used to have the Block Island paddle, which is our signature event, in September, but, because of all the storms, we had to cancel it this year,” said Doss. “Because of the tides, we’re limited to certain days. And since we want to get as many participants as possible, we want to make sure the conditions are safe and that the tides are optimum. That’s why we’re moving it up to August this year.”
Bradley, when asked, said the swim-paddle-run event — new in 2013 — would probably comprise a quarter-mile swim, a half-mile paddle, and a mile run.
Though P4H had done quite a bit as the result of its fund-raising paddle events over the past seven years — and had fun doing it — the three said they want to do more. “Frankly, we haven’t had the support we’d hoped from the corporate folks,” said Bradley. “We’re hoping the word gets out.”
“We’re always looking for more participants and more donors and more volunteers so that we can keep going,” said Doss.