From the hills of western Massachusetts Gillian Gibree heard the call of the ocean. Her high school accomplishments in softball and swimming led her to Cape Cod, where she began a seven-year career as a professional life guard. From there, the conversion to surfing – and eventually stand up paddle boarding – was easy.
Now, Gibree travels the globe as a professional paddle boarder and yoga instructor, motiving others in the art of movement, balance and self discovery.
Gillian has participated four times in the 36 mile Cape Cod Bay Challenge a Stand Up Paddle Board Challenge which takes place this Saturday starting in Plymouth Ma and ending in Wellfleet Ma. Over all a 12 plus hour journey across the Cape Cod Bay to raise money for Christopher's Haven a charity that provides support for both families and cancer patients at Boston’s MassGeneral Hospital for Children and the Dana-Farber/Children’s Hospital Cancer Center.
Gibree recently lead a world record attempt in Stand Up Paddle Boarding, where she organized over 250 people to participate in the largest gathering of people doing yoga on Stand Up Paddle Boards in California's Lake Tahoe.
Listen to more about the the Cape Cod Bay Challenge and learn more about Gillian in Edging the Xtreme's interview on Radio BDC:
The Cape Cod Bay Challenge's primary goal is to raise money for a wonderful charitable cause: Christopher’s Haven, a comfortable housing complex and supportive community for families who bring patients to Boston's Mass General Hospital for Children for brain tumors and cancer.
And the Challengers do this by bringing together a group of people who forge new friendships and deep bonds as they physically and mentally challenge themselves through stand-up paddle boarding.
With other four events during the season, organizers brought stand-up paddle boarding to the Charles River this weekend. The four mile race started at the Community Boating Center. In August, athletes will go the distance from Plymouth to Wellfleet in a 34 mile marathon that starts at sunrise.
Edging the Xtreme caught up with cancer survivor Dan Olsen, the founder of Christopher's Haven, and Mike Chase of the Cape Cod Bay Challenge to discuss the growing popularity of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) and how they are supporting a worthy cause.
Garrett McNamara, who also goes by ‘GMAC,’ is an American professional big wave surfer, and extreme waterman, known for breaking the world record for largest wave ever surfed around the world. He has been a passionate surfer since his family moved from Pittsfield, Mass. to the beaches of Hawaii and he has never looked back. McNamara's professional career spans over two decades around the pacific and beyond.
Don’t let McNamara’s laid-back, surfer persona fool you: as an professional athlete in his mid-forties, an age at which most are thinking of stepping to the sideline, he's ramping it up a notch. His recent world record wave ride in Portugal was on a wave ranging from 90-100 feet in height, and for him it was just another day at work.
That day that was six-plus years in the making. McNamara was tipped off to the wave by an email sent from a small village on the coast of Portugal. A local that wanted to know if the wave, a geographic phenomenon off the coast of Portugal called the North Canyon, was worth riding.
Living with the constant quest of riding the “barrel” or “tube” of the wave, McNamara's adventures include surfing in Alaska on a wave caused by the falling ice of a glacier into the frozen arctic waters. McNamara admits it was "a little crazy, but worth the risk, because the falling ice creates perfect waves."
He credits his survival to planning and fitness along, with his ability to hold his breath. McNamara is currently taking classes so he can surpass his personal best of 4.5 minutes under water.
“You have to survive the beating the wave hands out,” said McNamara, “and sometimes the bottom is a bit rough, like a coral reef, so you really just take a series of breaths whenever you can.”
Over the past 10 years, McNamara has been on a mission to catch the biggest, best waves on the planet, and he has succeeded. He is arguably the most committed ocean explorer in the world. You can put him in any situation in the water and GMAC is not only ready to go, but go hard!
At 17 years old, McNamara entered and placed in the prestigious Hawaiian Triple Crown Series. Along with his brother Liam, McNamara began to attract the attention of major sponsors and signed deals with a number of prominent brands in Japan. The brothers spent the next 10 years on the competition circuit, traveling and becoming fluent in Japanese. It was the realization of a dream come true for both brothers.
McNamara continued to push the limits of pro surfing, and soon he started to get towed into waves on Personal Water Craft or Jet Skis, which enable surfers to chase down and catch giant waves that were thought to be impossible, beyond the reach of surfers paddling with their bare hands.
Predictably, McNamara couldn't leave well enough alone. He is still on a mission to explore the world’s oceans for the best and biggest waves Mother Nature has to offer.
Listen to the complete Garrett McNamara interview on Edging the Xtreme on Radio BDC with Dan Egan. GMAC talks about surviving the white water of his world record ride and compares it to riding on a moving avalanche of snow.