Enjoy the VIDEO and the story below by: ROB ROJAS
Rob Rojas is not afraid of a challenge and proved it once again this past weekend when he paddled for 24hrs to raise money and awareness for Ocean of Hope. This drive to test himself is clearly in his blood with his 10 yr old son Conrad completing the first 23 miles of the paddle with Rob.
Rob Rojas -
This 24 hour paddle for Ocean of Hope has forever changed me. I am a different person today than I was before I took that first stroke on February 7.
The night before the paddle I didn't sleep very well. I woke up almost every hour as I was continually thinking about what the conditions were going to be like and how I was going to handle the different stages of fatigue both mentally and physically. I knew I was going to be well outside of my comfort zone but I also knew it was still way better than dealing with a cancer diagnosis and Chemotherapy treatments. In addition, I was also excited since my 10 year old son told me two days prior, he wanted to paddle the stretch from Newport Aquatic Center to Dana Point Harbor with me.
At 0430 the alarm went off. I woke up and started milling about the house getting all of the essentials ready. I woke up my son, C-Rad and off we went at 0545 to go meet Mike Muir and Scott Shannon from Riviera Paddlesurf in Dana Point Harbor, where they gave us a ride up to Newport. As we were driving up the coast the fog looked thick and the air was chilly.
The event started right when we arrived, where we met with Ocean of Hopes Aimee Spector and conducted an interview and immediately got on the water. At this point, my perspective changed when I met Wally Buckingham, Ocean of Hope Team Member, who is currently fighting cancer. Wally told me he was going to paddle with me that evening. His inspiration was my fuel.
C-Rad and I started making our way out of the harbor on our RP 14 and 12-6, where we rendered aid to a flipped surf ski paddler and then after that, started our trek down the coast to Dana. The ocean was a little bit confused due to the decent size West South West Swell that was hitting the coast. C-Rad remained strong and remained determined to finish this 23 mile portion of the 24 hour paddle. I can't even begin to say how impressed I was with his determination and mental strength. My son is my hero.
When we arrived in Dana Point, we were greeted by a multitude of family members, friends and supporters. One of our supporters, Jeanette Shue, brought a heaping pot of chicken long rice stew that hit the spot. I quickly downed about three bowls of the stew and continued on with the event inside of the harbor. Later in the evening, Erik Benitez cooked his world famous carnitas over an open fire and Mama C came at 3 am with her won ton soup. I would not have fared well if it were not for these amazing people.
The entire evening was filled with amazing people who supported me on my journey. It truly was a journey, where people came from all over and told me how cancer had affected their lives. I was getting messages on my phone from people who were communicating with me how cancer has affected them all evening. That was my fuel to keep going. The people who showed up at all hours of the night to paddle with me were my fuel to keep me going. The list is long and I am forever grateful.
I do have to give a special shout out to three friends of mine, Wally Buckingham, Wayne Buckingham, and Bill Kindel who showed up to paddle. Two of them are currently fighting cancer and kicking its ass while one has recently been declared cancer free. I couldn't imagine doing this while undergoing chemotherapy. Those three are my inspiration.
At 7 am, when I finished, I was greeted by a multitude of supporters and a nice Paddle Academy Pot Luck breakfast. I was exhausted and I was emotionally overwhelmed because the previous 24 hours was filled with people coming forward with their experiences, their recent victories against the disease, their currents battles, and their show of support for the cause.
I am now a changed man because of this event. Cancer affects us all and I know if we all get involved in some way shape of form, I know we will get that much closer to winning the war against the disease.
I am eternally grateful and very blessed to be a part of this community of people who care so much for each other.
I thank you all.