Stand Up Paddle Against Depression: The Journey Continues!

Southern California Stand Up Paddle Endurance Athlete, Will Schmidt, caps off a three week, 300 mile open ocean challenge by crossing two more Pacific Coast channels.

Will raises awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project as an Official Advance Guard Fundraiser through his own organization, Stand Up Paddle Against Depression, and his website, Proceeds from his solo challenges benefit military members who suffer from post-wartime anxiety, depression, and post traumatic stress.

Will started off with an exhibition appearance at the annual Island To Island Waterman Relay, a 28 nautical mile channel crossing from Santa Barbara Island to Two Harbors, Catalina Island benefiting cancer research funding, as the only solo entrant. The very next day he once again paddled the length of the Catalina Channel making him the only two time and three-peat solo SUP to complete the trip, this time while riding a SIC Bullet 14'. Schmidt traversed the 38.6 mile route in a record breaking and personal best time of 7:44:27 beating the previous channel record he set only three weeks ago by 0:3:09. All times and distances were verified by Nike+ GPS as well as Spot satellite tracking.

These last two crossings complete Will's goal of paddling 300 documented statute miles in the California Channel Islands. A mere three weekends prior, he set off on a successful seven day solo paddle that took him consecutively from Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, CA to Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Island, Santa Barbara Island, Cat Harbor on Catalina Island, San Clemente Island, Avalon on Catalina Island, and finished off with his second of three Catalina Channel crossings into Dana Point Harbor. Schmidt set two and broke three stand up paddle records in the process. He then competed in the annual Rainbow Sandals Battle of the Paddle distance race adding another ten miles to the tally. After these most recent crossings, Schmidt boasts ten solid days of Pacific Ocean stand up paddling over a three week time period totaling 300.6 statute miles, nine channel crossings, seven island landings, and five stand up paddle records (three of which were broken then re-broken).


Hello everyone! I have emerged from the far reaches of the Channel Islands unscathed! (Maybe minus a few pounds and some additional blisters.)

If you had been following our tracking, you will see that we did not make it past Santa Cruz Island. Despite two attempts we could not safely navigate against the gale force headwinds and 10 ft seas with wind waves. A dense fog cover didnt help the situation either. The key to any successful physical challenge in the ocean is the safety of the crew, the boat, and the athlete. There was at least a 90% chance that someone would have gotten seriously hurt or worse had we continued with Plan 1.

Luckily, we had a Plan 2!

Plan 2 consisted of a launch from mainland California in Oxnard and navigating to touch all INNER Channel Islands. Friday I successfully completed this goal. We traveled from Channel Islands Harbor to Anacapa Island, Santa Cruz Is, Santa Barbara Is, Cat Harbor on Catalina Is, San Clemente Is, then back to Avalon on Catalina Island for the night before my final paddle into Dana Point. My stats for the trip: 5 islands touched (one twice for a total of 6 island landings), 7 channels crossed, and a trip total of 220 statute miles traversed solo on a 14' stand up paddleboard in the California Channel Island chain.

Altogether 5 stand up paddle records were set on this trip. I became the first person to stand up paddle all inner Channel Islands from shore to shore, the first person to paddle the Catalina Channel lengthwise twice, as well as laying claim to the most miles paddled in the Channel Islands, a record previously held by Karen Wrenn at 150 miles. An unexpected result of this paddle (verified by 3 separate GPS tracking devices) was my Catalina Channel crossing time of 7:47:33 which blows away the 14' solo record as well as the all time solo SUP record set by Jared Vargas on an unlimited in 2009 with 7:52:34. The discrepancy between our 3 tracking devices was a mere +- 30 seconds.

The motivation behind this undertaking was my history as a U.S. Marine. I have so many friends who have come out of hot zones with severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Many symptoms that I suffer from as well although not military related. It is of the utmost importance that I raise awareness for those who suffer from this silent and un-diagnosable disease.

For this challenge, Susan Campbell (Captain of the Sloop) generously offered her time and vessel to me to help me complete my task. In turn, 50 percent of the funds raised from this event will go to her charity, Casa Hogar, benefiting orphaned children in Mexico.

I will continue to fundraise for an undefined period of time. I have set a goal of $30,000 however I would love to surpass it and donate as much as possible to our respective charities. Please, please, please feel free to donate as well as post my link on your Facebook, and Twitter pages as well as email as many friends as you can to ask the same of them. You can also visit my website or email me personally at [email redacted] and I will put you on my update list for future events!

------Your favorite California Waterman, Will Schmidt-----

Susan Campbell
Heidi Marriner
Hannah Feldman
Don Campbell
Rhisa Gibbs


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Will Schmidt 
Laguna Niguel, CA
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