Paddle for the Mentawais – Get on Board!

by Russell Yule

The tsunami that hit the Mentawais Islands in October is the second to affect the region in since 2004. Assistance has been made even more difficult as the region is moving into the monsoon season, with weather conditions this year being horrific. Storms bringing winds of more than 100km/hr have prevented boats, which are the only way from bringing supplies in, from making the journey safely. Although news coverage of the disaster has stopped, suffering for the survivors continues.

I believe the best way to support those affected is by raising money and supporting an organisation already based in the area to support. I was made aware of SurfAid and the work they have been doing in the Mentawai Islands in 2004. I would like to help them continue the work they have been doing in the region since 2000. For more information about their work please go to . The reason I choose to support SurfAid is because they account for all of their income and expenditure through an independent audit which is published on their website each year. Because of this open approach and willingness to invite scrutiny.

To support SurfAid I am going to paddle around the island of Abu Dhabi on my stand-up paddleboard (SUP). The distance is a difficult to accurately gauge, I calculate somewhere between 50-60km. To put this in perspective, the Molokai Channel Challenge, the world endurance championship of Stand Up Paddleboarding between two islands in Hawaii is about the same distance. It should take somewhere between 10-14 hours. I have been training for this challenge since April, as well as competing in a race series (currently 3rd), with a view to doing the paddle on the 2nd or 3rd of December which have favourable tides.

I am using my local and social networks (Facebook, email, school, sporting) to achieve my target; to find 1000 people to donate the amount required to provide a Building Kit (about 100 Dirhams or AUS $29). My goal is to fund 1000 Building Kits for the Mentawai Islands.

Having recently done a paddle around half the island, I now have a pretty good idea of the task (and blisters) in front of me. The SUP I am currently using is an ‘all-purpose’ board and not particularly suited to this challenge. If you or anyone you know is aware of a company or anyone interested in assisting with the purchase of a more suitable ‘down-wind’ board I would be very keen to discuss sponsorship. This is a great opportunity to generate goodwill, positive publicity, and get their brand ‘out there’.

If you can donate and pass this message on through your social networks, SurfAid, myself and the survivors in the Mentawai Islands would be extremely grateful for your support.


Russell Yule

About Russell Yule

Indogus is the alter ego of Russell Yule. He has retired more times than actually played games, although is completely retired now in order to live vicariously through his children's sporting proclivities. Given any available space in a conversation, he will regale you with boring stories about his exploits with the Bali Geckos or Abu Dhabi Falcons, of which he is extremely proud.

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