SUP Flood Relief Thailand
Thailand experiences it's worst floods in 50 years - SUP's perfect for delivering supplies.
October 10th 2011 - SUP Flood Relief Trip Ayuttaha
As a last minute request, Svein, owner of Starboard Co. personally helped load our pick-up with 9 prototype windsurfing boards to use as SUP's and then leave behind for the villages. We gave away the paddles after the trip aslo, so perhaps we will have started a small SUP culture in this ancient city! (Starboard donated 10 x inflatable SUP's, paddles and 30 x impact vests a week earlier also). Dedicated SUP's work MUCH better than finless windsurfing boards, but once you have paddle-board skills, anything that floats is better than nothing.
This trip was full of ironies, Amara who left Ayuttaha with a small bag of belongings at the age of 13, went on to travel the world and with 2 of her brothers, became Windsurfing champions. 33 years later she is returning to her home village and paddling down streets, through gardens and right into her sisters house on a windsurfing board. One of the poorest girls in school with no shoes, able to return and give some assistance thanks again to Windsurfing and a positive attitude. Thank you to K. Thip, K. Mew, K. Bow who joined Amara and I on this small hastily prepared trip. We delivered 50 ration bags that could each feed a family of 3 for a week. - many of our freinds and customers donated money for these supplies. We could not have done this without help from K. Daa and Amara's sisters. K. Mam, K. Jam and K. Jim. The Head of Village 2 in Ayuttaha was out-standing in his support and accepted nothing for his own family.
September 27th-28th 2011 SUP Flood Relief Trip - Nakon Sawan and Lopburi
Probably our greatest adventure so far in terms of not knowing what to expect and having real goals to achieve in a challanging environment. The gentleman (K. Jart) who organized the first trip did so with only a few days notice and managed to get several companies, organizations and celebrities involved. It was an honor to work with so many really nice people. Thank you to K. Jart, K. Zom and all the great people for all your work.
The goal was to use Stand Up Paddle-boards to deliver supplies into areas which were inaccessible by boats, the idea being that a group of paddle-boards could work from a supply boat to make fast personal deliveries down flooded village streets. Also we could use the novelty angle of SUP's to attract more media attention to those who need help. Bringing SUP's into the lives of these people who have lost so much and remain broke and powerless, has a temporary uplifting effect on the spirits - especially for the paddlers themselves.
Puan Pung Pah Foundatoin
Eastern Seaboard Rotary Club
How to use Paddle-boards to help in a flood situation
Small focused groups with pre-packaged ration packs, a guide and a specific target area work well. On our last trip we were carrying 2 ration packs per 1 black garbage bag. each pack weighed about 5kg and we could carry between 4 are 6 packs on a board easily. K. Jart,(email below) can suggest which items are most useful.
The hardest part is choosing an area to target, where people are not getting enough help, these areas are the most dificult to get to, at least several kilometers from the nearest usable road. Best is to contact with the village head person, find out how many households and prepare ration packs to deliver.
You will need to meet with a local guide, who can tell you a reasonably safe place to un-load and leave your car, then guide your Paddle Team to the target village.
- As this situation continues, it gets more dangerious, as water condition becomes polluted with human and other waste, disease is likely to spread. Protect your skin from scratches and stay on the board as much as possible. These trips should not be attempted with-out some basic existing paddle-board or kayak skills.
- Carry your phone and car keys in a dry bag on your person. A whistle is also a good idea.
- Stay away from Rivers, as the flow here can be very fast with unpredictable underwater currents.
- In many places the Electricity is still on, avoid contacting with any metal surfaces and of course, be especially careful around wires and electrical fittings.
- Beware of barb wire fences if using inflatable boards.
- You simply can not become experienced, without having lots of relevant experiences. Having Resources is not nearly enough, you need up-to date relevant information to apply those resources effectively. It is very hard to know which roads are ok and where are the people we can help the most.
- Wear a life jacket, and dont do it if you are not fit, able to swim and tie basic knots.
Thank you so much to all the people who deliverd, supported, donated supplies and or gave moral support. Starboard donated over 5,000USD worth of equipment to provide on-going support. Isuzu supplied trucks, and many other people supplied cash, food and medicine.
Once again I was touched by the gentle and cheerful nature of the Thai people. They helped and supported each other, and seemed to always have a big smile when they saw us on our strange water craft. The greatest gift has been to my own soul - thank you once again Thailand for the opportunity to give something small back. - craig