Parko To Paddle From Molokai To Oahu For SurfAid

Joel Parkinson
Joel Parkinson And Jackson English Take On Molokai 2 Oahu For SurfAid

SurfAid is proud to announce that top professional surfer Joel Parkinson will be taking on the Molokai 2 Oahu Paddleboard World Championships to raise money for a new school in the Mentawai Islands.

And Singapore schoolteacher Jackson English, who is SurfAid's biggest individual fundraiser, will also be paddling for SurfAid in this year's grueling 32-mile (51.5 km) race, which will be contested on Sunday 29 July. "I’m really stoked to be doing the Molokai paddle and raising money for SurfAid," Parkinson, 30, said. "I was up in the Mentawai Islands only a month ago and saw firsthand how much damage the 2010 tsunami did to the area.

"It was really confronting to see the damage it did to the landscape, and you can only imagine how frightening it must have been to have experienced it," he said. Parkinson will be raising money to help build a new school in Masokut village, on Sipora Island. The former village was wiped out by the tsunami and, with the help of SurfAid, the Masokut community has since rebuilt their village on higher ground. However the children, aged seven to 10, are being taught in a one-room timber shack that has plastic sheeting for walls.

"SurfAid’s program to rebuild the school in Masokut is so worthy, and I’m stoked to be able to contribute in a small way," Parkinson said. SurfAid Schools Program manager Milton Brown said the fundraising target is $25,000, of which nearly half has been raised. "Billabong supports our schools program and it is great to see one of our leading ambassadors in Joel taking on the hard yards for the kids," Brown said.

You can support Joel here

Jackson English, 37, who hails from the NSW Central Coast, is an old hand at the Molokai 2 Oahu, having finished runner-up twice and third on three occasions. English recently helped raise $37,000 at the United World College of SE Asia 24-Hour Swim Challenge, which is part of nearly $400,000 that he has helped raise for SurfAid since 2006. "Paddling across the Molokai Channel is not easy but the pain I suffer in one day is nothing compared to the suffering that the people of the Mentawai Islands can go through on a daily basis," English said.

"With three healthy young children of my own, it breaks my heart when I visit the Mentawais to see young children who are suffering from illness and disease that is very easily preventable. "Raising awareness of the incredible work that SurfAid does in the Mentawai Islands is the least I can do. Help me help SurfAid give a hand up, not a hand out, to the people of the Mentawai Islands." English will be raising money for SurfAid's Malaria Free Mentawai program. You can support him here

The mission of SurfAid, a non-profit humanitarian organisation, is to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing. SurfAid's health programs involve education in nutrition, hygiene, healthy environments and disease prevention – including mosquito net distribution.

SurfAid has built an award-winning capacity in emergency preparedness and has delivered five emergency response programs following major disasters, including the Boxing Day 2004 Tsunami and the October 2010 Mentawai tsunami.