|A Wave A Day's Sarah Kobach Hughen. Photo by Jay Reilly|
I smile every time I see Sarah Kobach Hughen heading down the stairs at my local surf break with her surfboard under her arm and her beautiful red hair flowing behind her. The Wisconsin native -- who now lives in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif. with her husband and two young boys -- is not only stoked to surf but she's also armed with a purpose and a mission.
In May 2011 Sarah started "A Wave A Day: The Pink Board Project" in hopes of raising awareness and funds for breast cancer. Every day since then the 34-year-old has ventured out into the sea to catch a wave or two (or sometimes a lot more) -- rain or shine or sick.
"There have been a lot of awesome days that have been sunny with great waves," Sarah says. "I've also surfed in 20 MPH winds and I was the only person out. Sometimes it's invigorating to be out there when it's like that."
Sarah gets major props for her "surf no-matter-what" mentality.
"There have been days where I was so sick I had to throw up in a trash can and then paddle out real quick and catch a wave and come in and throw up again," she says. "I've also paddled out with a fever and a sinus infection."
Here's an excerpt from Sarah's blog on April 27:
Yesterday, was one of those days I would had rather not surfed. Murky water, wind on it, and no swell – not to mention a tight schedule.
My window was at sunset… I suited up without even looking at it… does it really matter? I still had to go! I ran from the car to up the path way to get my heart rate up a little – and when I got to the top of the stairs, I was taken back.
No one in sight.
Not one surfer.
Not one walker on the beach.
No one watching the sunset.
I know it is most likely circumstantial considering the conditions, but part of me feels like the ocean is really offering me this space and time before the project comes to and end to reflect.
I walked down the steps and stuck my feet in to the sand. I love walking pass the days doings… I saw tiny baby footsteps, and soon to be washed away sand castles. As I looked out passed the surf the horizon seemed to be covered in whale spouts back lit by the sunset. Sort of ridiculously beautiful.
I caught a couple poo poo water closeouts and stood in waist deep water for a while. Just feeling the current push at me from the North.
4 more days…
Check out more of Sarah's musings on the Wave A Day blog: http://awaveaday.com/ .
For Sarah, the A Wave A Day project is also about raising awareness for living a healthy lifestyle.
"I really believe cancer is an environmental disease," she says. "When I'm out in the water I always see and pick up trash floating around. We need to take care of our environment because it does affect our health.
I believe that having a healthy lifestyle and being in the ocean surfing can reduce your risk of diseases like cancer."
As Sarah celebrates her last day of the A Wave A Day project on May 1, she is overwhelmed at the wave of support and awareness she has garnered.
"I did this project as a challenge. I knew it was going to be hard. It comes down to dedication; I knew I had to go for this 100 percent. I think about the people who are sick with cancer and other diseases who can't choose to wake up and surf everyday.
"One in 8 woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer sometime during their life. This is unacceptable to me," Sarah adds. "My hope is that through research, awareness, and an active lifestyle we can help make this statistic history."
*Sarah will celebrate her 365 days of surfing with friends and family tonight, April 30, for one last fundraiser at Curruth Cellars in Solana Beach, Calif. One hundred percent of all proceeds from the night, along with all the money Sarah has raised over the last year, will go to the Keep A Breast Foundation.
Tonight's even will include:
*Live Music from the Mattson 2 and the Red Fox Tails
*Farm to Table food from Green Truck
*Beer from Stone Brewing Co.
*Wine from Carruth Cellars
*Amazing raffle prizes from Spy Optics, Indigo Dragon Wellness Center, Greenasium Fitness Studio, Dakine, Bing and so more.
Raffle tickets $5
Here are some photos from A Wave A Day's six-month celebration at Cardiff Reef in late October 2011:
|Sarah (left) and Margaret Yao Calvani from Bing Surfboards|
|Sarah and one of her groms|
|Sarah's six-month paddle out. Go girl!|
|A Wave A Day paddle out at Cardiff Reef October 2011|
|Sarah and friends, including breast cancer survivor Cindy Gomez Sanchez (far right)|
|Sarah's A Wave A Day project has collected a ton of supporters, including Margaret Yao Calvani of Bing surfboards|