SEA Paddle NYC has seen some amazing paddlers over the years.  Fierce competitors, record finishes and incredible stamina are some of the qualities we use to describe them.  Each comes for their own reason – athletic challenge, camaraderie and the chance to give back are just a few.  Whatever their motivation, they cross the finish line knowing their triumphs on the water will make a difference in the lives of others and in the community.  Each week leading up to the SEA Paddle NYC on August 15th, we will profile of few of these extraordinary athletes and human beings.  First up is Ryan Matthews who will be returning this year with an eye on winning his 4th consecutive SEA Paddle NYC…


“I first got involved with Surfers Healing as a Belmar lifeguard as we are required to man the beach and inside shore pound as the surfers take the kids in an out through the waves. The enjoyment these kids get through being in the ocean and surfing is indescribable; it was an incredibly moving experience.  That following fall, 5 years ago, I decided I take part in the SEA Paddle NYC event the following summer. The decision was easy to make especially because my cousin Taylor was diagnosed with autism when she was very young.

In the three years I have taken part, every paddle around Manhattan has had its different challenges and spectacular views but one thing stays the same, in that the people that paddle are all there for one goal. This common goal to push through pain so children with autism can feel that very feeling, I witnessed, first hand, 5 years ago is amazing, and is always something I draw upon when fatigue begins to wear on my body. This is my 4th year paddling and I know around mile 15 everything starts to hurt, but thinking about my cousin Taylor is an easy way to clear my mind and push on to finish.

My goal this year is to raise $4000 and if I reach that goal it will put me over $10,000 for all four years combined. Beyond that I told myself I’d like to paddle around Manhattan for 10 consecutive years and hopefully longer. Last year Joe Bark paddled the Catalina race for the 30th consecutive year, I would love to take part in SEA Paddle NYC for that long and raise as much money as possible. 30 trips under the GW Bridge on a piece of foam would be an awesome claim in life!”.