There are special people on this planet that choose to make a positive difference in the world. Sarah Hughen is one of these souls focused on a personal challenge to surf everyday for a year to bring awareness to Breast Cancer. Her website www.awaveaday.com shares the journey of her 'Pink Board Project'. Sarah started her challenge on the 1st of May 2011, with over half the year surfed already Sarah reflects on her achievement.
"It started off slow, I felt like I was plugging along and barley getting anywhere... like it was going to be a LONG year! But now with only about 100 days left, I am amazed at how fast it has flown by! I am constantly reminded that my efforts are making a difference by the emails I receive from someone who the project has touched or inspired".
Sarah grew up in rural Wisconsin in the United States and now lives in Cardiff, California. Sarah's love for the ocean and surfing grew over time, and now it has become a daily source of peace in a very fast paced life. Canoeing was a means for Sarah to test herself and be close to water when she was younger. It has taken her to Canada’s wilderness on numerous extended trips up to 80 days in length without seeing another soul. It was out in the middle of nature, 500 miles away from help, that Sarah felt most true to herself. Now that Sarah lives at the beach, without much fresh water nearby – She had no choice but to immerse herself in the vast wilderness of the Pacific. It is her daily ritual of sorts, a chance to cleanse herself every time Sarah surfs and start a fresh. Just Sarah, surrounded by water.
In the words of Sarah, "I truly believe that Breast Cancer, among other cancers, is an environmental disease. I came up with the idea to surf every day as a personal challenge that would hopefully inspire people to make a few changes in their life to reduce their risk of developing cancer, and to a live a healthier/happier life. After dealing with too many people close to me being diagnosed, both young and old, I knew I had to try to do something about it".
Sarah is also trying to raise money for the 'Keep A Breast Foundation'. They are a local non-profit that is out there really making a difference in the face Prevention. "I LOVE their Non Toxic Revolution Campaign - teaching people about how to avoid the chemicals in our life that have proven to have caused cancer".
About Keep A Breast Foundation
The Keep A Breast Foundation™ is a non-profit organization. Their mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support. Through art events, educational programs and fundraising efforts, they seek to increase breast cancer awareness among young people so they are better equipped to make choices and develop habits that will benefit their long-term health and well-being. Pro surfers such as Lisa Anderson and Layne Beachley are some of the surfing legends that support 'Keep A Breast'.
Being half way through your year of surfing everyday do you feel like your surfing has progressed?
At first I remember feeling like my arms were just SO tired from so much paddling - and no chance to recover! Then they got a little stronger, and I became more in tune with the ocean and the waves, and I feel like I have gotten better on many levels. I am always surprised at how comfortable I am out there - even in huge surf!
I feel at home and at ease. With that said - it is also the most humbling sport... I still have a ways to go, and will most likely always feel like there is a lot of room to progress.
Being a Mom of two little boys and juggling surfing everyday means that not every surf session is a true "session!" I have been known to jump in the car, run down the steps, paddle out, catch "A" wave, and run back up to head home. While I checked off that day as part of my commitment - it doesn't really help me get much time in the water. And as any surfer knows... for everything to come together: my window of time, the waves, the wind, etc... is a rare occurrence. When my husband got home from being at sea for 6 weeks for work... I surfed almost 3 hours the first day he was back!
Has their been any highlights for you personally since you started A Wave A Day?
Personally this project has touched me on many levels. I have loved learning about my body and how it was going to respond to this daily challenge. I feel like I have finally gotten a grasp on my issues with my back. (Thanks to the folks at Indigo Dragon and the Greenasium Fitness Studio)
But when it comes down to it - it's moments when I meet someone who has survived Breast Cancer, or who knows someone going through it - who thanks me for my efforts. It makes me feel like this project found me and that it was really something I needed to do.
On the surfing side of things... there have been a few of those magic days when I have been able to be out there, all alone, when the swell just starts to show up and the ocean offers me up a couple magic little lines that seem to go on forever.
Sarah's final words, "I invite people to follow my project 'A Wave A Day' online daily where I’ll be posting inspiring and beautiful snippets of my daily challenges, and doing what I can to spread awareness about Breast Cancer. I encourage everyone to donate as 100% of all donations will go to an amazing organization – Keep A Breast Foundation".