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From ‘Baywatch’ to Bay Challenge

Participants in a past Cape Cod Bay Challenge, which is expected to draw 70 competitors this year. Participants in a past Cape Cod Bay Challenge, which is expected to draw 70 competitors this year.
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / August 10, 2011

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“Baywatch’’ has been off the air for a few years now, but David Chokachi, who played beefcake lifeguard Cody Madison on the show, manages to stay close to the water. The Plymouth native is one of the cofounders of the Cape Cod Bay Challenge, a 34-mile stand-up paddle taking place Aug. 20. “We started this in 2008 with just myself and seven others, and now we’ve got 70 challengers,’’ the actor told us yesterday. “It’s definitely blown up.’’ The paddle between Plymouth and Wellfleet is a benefit for Christopher’s Haven, a nonprofit that provides housing for families of children being treated at MassGeneral Hospital for Children. Chokachi says the paddle isn’t for everyone, taking a minimum of eight hours to complete. “There are no guarantees. It’s Mother Nature,’’ he says. “You get out in the middle of the bay . . . it’s a legit challenge.’’ Chokachi splits his time between New York, where his wife works for Gucci, and LA, where he’s been hosting specials for Spike TV and Comedy Central. “I just interviewed Colin Farrell on the set of ‘Total Recall,’ and he was like, ‘No, [expletive] way, man, I served you a burger and a beer in Dublin.’ ’’ Yes, a dozen years ago, Farrell was working as a waiter and Chokachi was shooting a Roger Corman film, and their paths crossed. “He recognized me because ‘Baywatch’ was huge there.’’