The Friendship Paddle is a local, grassroots non-profit started in 2003 by a group of watermen eager to provide emotional and financial support for a friend fighting a life-threatening illness.

Today, almost 20 years later, the Friendship Paddle is still going strong with over 150 men and women paddling the Santa Barbara Channel with the shared goal of helping a community member in need.

This year, the Friendship Paddle is hitting the ocean to raise money for local artist and former UC Santa Barbara Gaucho Chris Potter.

My husband, Mike Day and our son, Evan are participating in the Friendship Paddle this year (Mike is in the green hat in the photo above).

Mike’s reasons for paddling include a very personal one: to honor the spirit of his recently deceased father.

Please take a moment to read Mike’s statement, below. If you’re so inclined, we would greatly appreciate your support in reaching Mike’s fundraising goal to assist the Potter family.

From Mike ~

As many of you know, I lost my father earlier this year. A long time resident of Hawaii, in his later years he found community and connection through his love of paddling outrigger on the Big Island of Hawaii with Keauhou Canoe Club. He died in February of COPD, a progressive lung disease. When I learned that Santa Barbara local artist and fellow Gaucho Chris Potter is battling aggressive lung cancer, I knew my dad would want me to channel my grief and feelings of loss into a positive act to help another family in need. So, I’m grabbing my paddle and taking to the ocean like my dad would, to raise money for Chris Potter and his family by participating in the Friendship Paddle 2022. I know my dad will be by my side as my step-son, Evan, and I paddle 27-miles across the Santa Barbara Channel with 150 friends and fellow paddlers with the common goal of helping the Potters. I ask that you to join me in honoring my dad’s spirit by making a donation via my fundraising page to support Chris Potter and his family. Please share my page with any of your friends and family that may be inspired to donate as well. If you’d like to learn more about Chris, his incredible art and the Friendship Paddle, click here. I appreciate any support you may be able to give.

With deepest aloha, Mike Day & Family

Mike, Evan and I would greatly appreciate your support to help Chris Potter and his family. To make a donation, click here.