DANA POINT – After completing two successful long distance stand-up paddleboard (SUP) rides, Will Schmidt is scheduled to embark on his most ambitious paddle, May 24. This time, he will paddle his SUP 1,400 miles from Canada to Mexico.
Schmidt’s first trip. “Stand Up Paddle Against Depression: A Personal Journey” took him on a 45.2-mile trip from Avalon Harbor to Dana Point where he rode out 4 to 6 foot swells. His second trip began in Oxnard and ended in Dana Point. The 320 mile paddle took him through the five inner Channel Islands.
His journey is designed to inspire those suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He has raised a total of $50,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project, an organization that raises awareness and provides assistance to those wounded during their time in the service.
For this trip, Schmidt will not have a support boat nearby.
“I’ll be doing it completely unassisted from the water side,” he said. “The logistics of getting and having a boat down there became more of a challenge.”
Instead, Schmidt is working with Magellan, who supplied him with the Explorist GPS system. Fans and friends can track Schmidt on his website areyoinspiredyet.com
He will fly from Los Angeles to Seattle, where a friend—and his gear—will be awaiting his arrival. Schmidt will be taken out on the bay by a sportfishing boat to the Canada water boarder. It’s here where he will begin his 1,400 mile journey.
The planned course runs from the Canada water border to Cape Flattery, Coos Bay, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the Columbia River.
He’ll paddle close to 30 to 35 miles a day, stopping along the coastline where friends and fellow paddlers will greet him with food and other items. Schmidt mailed care packages to acquaintances who agreed to meet him at designated stops along the course.
Camping out under the stars will be Schmidt’s time to recharge before heading back onto the open ocean every morning. Schmidt and his team planned the course to allow him to stay as close to the coast as possible rather than paddling 60 miles offshore.
On his board, Schmidt will carry only what he needs for a given day. A one-man sleeping tent and bag and pad, board shorts, a wet suit, gloves and clothing all compressed into one small package. Military ready to eat meals are also being carried in a dry bag aboard his paddle board.
“It’s a minimalist trip,” he said. “It became how little can I survive on while accomplishing what I need to do?”
A solar power charging device will allow him to fuel his Magellan GPS system. If the sea becomes too choppy, Schmidt said he will pull over and wait for the weather to change.
“I need to be very smart and really pay attention to the conditions,” he said.
Schmidt estimates the trip will take five weeks – if everything goes as planned. Paddle boarders are invited to help cheer him home at the water border in San Ysidro, Mexico on July 4.
“I’m staying confident but in the back of my mind there are questions of what if,” he said. “ It’s going to be the experience of my lifetime.”
For more information on Will Schmidt’s trip or to follow him along on his journey, visit areyouinspiredyet.com