Help Sayulita's JR. SUP Team

$3,765 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 42 months
What is the SUP Team

Sayulita Jr. SUP Team was started in March of 2015, following the ISA World SUP Championships that were held in our small town. The enthusiasm that was generated by watching the world’s best Stand Up Paddle competitors became a fever among our local youth and we knew that it was time to direct that energy in a positive direction

The idea was to open share our skill set the local kids wanted to learn a new sport, give them a productive activity to participate in after school, and help mentor the youth in their daily life. Through SUP the youth can grow stronger, healthier, and be more prepared for a successful future. We focus on teaching them our 5 core principles; education, commitment, accountability, respect, and sustainability. What started as a group of 7 kids who came under protest due to behavior issues, quickly caught fire and we now have a team roster of over 40 local kids. Our team is incredibly diverse, both economically and socially, with kids from 6 countries and ages ranging from 6 to 17.

Why is it needed

Sayulita is a small fishing village hidden on the pacific coast of Mexico, commonly referred to as “Riviera Nayarit”. The town is known for its consistent surf break, with a tourism crowd to match. Recently, following the success of local paddlers, Stand Up Paddle or SUP has grown in popularity to match that of traditional surf. While Sayulita is booming with things to do, access to these activities are limited primarily to tourists, leaving the locals on stand-by either working or watching from the sideline.

The rich cultural heritage that makes Sayulita so special cannot exist without the locals who are the heart of the town, yet it is that culture that is at risk. Without youth we have no future. Look closely and you will see a lack of constructive and affordable activities for the local youth. The economic gap between tourist and local has created a negative spiral for our youth that seems to worsen with the increase in tourism. We have a bunch of kids with nothing to do, little to no guidance, and easy access to drugs and alcohol. Many of our promising local youth end up in gangs, rehabilitation, or worse yet- jail.

The most shocking part of this increasing dilemma is that so many of the kids in our "beach town" don't take part in activities on the beach—many don’t even know how to swim. They live on an ocean playground, and the kids don't take part in water sports or even play on the beach. This disconnect has to be mended.


"Get kids off the streets and on the water!"


What has been accomplished so far

Having spent the past 3 years training and competing professionally in the sport of Stand Up Paddle, we have been given the opportunity to travel the world and meet all kinds of people. We have seen how hard work and dedication can reap enormous rewards, both emotionally and financially. Being physically strong and training daily gives you a self-confidence and self-awareness that is hard to replicate in other activities. We know how being a part of a team forces you to be respectful and teaches you accountability. It also provides a strong support network and becomes a second family among team members. In our opinion, Team activities are crucial to youth development.



We train the youth 5 days a week after school, split into 4 groups based off of age and skill level. In order for them to continue using equipment and to attend training- they have to maintain a B average and attend 3 trainings a week. We focus on teaching them all aspects of water discipline because we quickly realized that our initial idea of training them in only SUP was unrealistic. Much to our surprise, more than half of the kids either didn't know how to swim or were scared of the ocean. Consequently, we altered our trainings to be 30 min of dry-land work out to build a strong base of physical condition and strength, then we hit the water for an hour to practice SUP racing technique and a few days a week we alternate surf lessons and swimming. This insures that all the kids are intelligent when they get into the ocean, strong in the water in whatever they choose to do, and safe when we all get on SUP boards to train.


The initial idea was to charge each kid $1,000 MX pesos (equivalent to $58.00 usd) a month to cover equipment fees and raise $ to get uniforms and other team expenses. However, the kids who were coming in flocks where locals who cannot afford even that. The kids who cannot pay are the kids who need the program more than anyone and the kids whose lives have changed forever. We train any child, even if they can't afford inscription fees, and just ask them to help with team duties (coming early to get equipment ready, help carry water, come on days off to repair broken equipment, etc).

The impact the team has had on the kids is remarkable. We have received emails from teachers and parents alike expressing how the children have changed: we are seeing improved grades across the board, improved behavior in school and in town, ethnic meshing in classrooms (the local nationals are now family with their fellow "gringo" team mates, improved self confidence in kids who were before wall-flowers, and most importantly dropping crime rates in petty-theft and drug distribution throughout the village. These kids are a family now, and they now have a reason to behave well and stay focused. They have someone looking out for them and holding them accountable for their actions (bad and good). They now have something to do and look forward to every day and goals to achieve in the future. The program has become so much more than we had ever imagined!!!!


With the help of a local business, Stand Up Sayulita, we have been able to provide rental boards to our youth for team practice. Our team has grown so quickly that we have outgrown the rental fleet and need to acquire our own equipment to ensure the future of our venture.

The kids on our team come from local, indigenous families—families that often struggle to pay for clean water and do not have the resources to pay for coaching or buy their child’s equipment. We have a thriving team and no equipment that is our own. Our community provides tremendous support through networking and community involvement, however we lack the resources to take our program to the next level. Our kids show tremendous potential want to take their training to a competitive level, but without the proper equipment, we are throttled.


The funds we raise will help us to properly outfit our team with boards and paddles, provide the proper safety equipment, print uniforms, and provide scholarships to the youth that cannot otherwise afford to cover the team inscription fees.



1) 20 SUP boards to cover each training group - $8000.00
2) paddles for each board (20) - $500.00
3) 20 PFD’s (portable flotation devices) - $200.00
4) Scholarship funds for low income youth $3000.00
3) Team Uniforms-$300.00​

Help become a part of a life-changing program that is shaping the future of our community.

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So far we have raised enough money to cover our 15 custom race boards, 25 paddles, and 20 new PFDs (personal floatation devices)- and successfully put on 2 huge local SUP races for the kids! Our teams average GPA this year was a 3.5 which is incredible! And we have a roster of 67 local groms training and racing. None of this would be possible without all the support we've be given.
We are coming to the end of our 2016 season and need to make a push for our 2017 goals. We have huge things in our sights but the kids need more support than ever.
We have been invited to take our team to California USA to compete in the Youth World Championships (Sup Fiesta) in May and in the Pacific Paddle Games in October. This will require huge planning and financial help- but will absolutely change the kids lives forever. We would spend the whole year training up, getting new uniforms, and making sure when we show up to California - we represent all the hard work and dedication that has been put in by all the kids big and small. This will require us to organize VISAs for all the qualifying kids, travel expenses, transportation, and accommodations. Huge goal- kind of a long shot- but totally possible!!!!!
The second opportunity is for our teenagers to make the MEXICO NATIONAL SUP TEAM and be able to travel with the squad to compete in the ISA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS racing. We have 4 kids in mind that we want to take time to train specially to have them qualify and be the first JR SUP TEAM representatives on the Mexico team.
Thirdly- we are going to set a bimonthly race schedule for the kids and start having them compete locally and maybe around the region every 2 months to test they're skills, learning the tricks to racing, and feeling like all the work they put in 5 days a week is for something bigger!
We have all the drive, excitement, passion, and talent to make all these goals come true and change the lives of these kids forever. They will be the leaders not only of this sport in Mexico and maybe the world, but they will be the leaders of Sayulita. Let's make a push and insure they're success!
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Kids in action! The future of SUP in Mexico!
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Our team has reached a roster of 60 kids officially!!!! Working with the local schools and business, we achieved the goal of 20 boards and paddles. We now have a program running 2 training sessions a day, Monday-Saturday. Our kids are more excited then ever going into this summer.
We still need funds for more uniforms, travel expenses, more carbon paddles, and for our scholarship program!
We attended our first competition yesterday and the kids blew our expectations out of the water! They were so fierce and is a perfect testament to how hard they have worked over the past year.
We got invited to attend the SUP FIESTA 2017 but this goal will require a lot of support in order to get visa/travel/accommodation/board expenses covered.
All smiles after a long hot day of racing!
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Thanks to all the support from families and visionaries around the world- we officially have a whole new fleet of JR race boards!!!!!! The kids are so excited, and we have recently joined forces with the local school to create an open-to-all program for youth from all around the region.
We now need your support in getting more team uniforms for the ever increasing number of kids on the roster! We are at 60 groms now!
We also want to order tshirts for the kids to be able to sell as a fundraiser and make money for them to put on a big race event this summer for all the town to take part in.
And most importantly- as the team runs year round, we really need the support of able people to keep our SCHOLARSHIP program and aid going so all kids are able to take advantage of this awesome team and new fancy boards!
The U-9 group taking new boards out for an exciting paddle!!!
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$3,765 of $8,000 goal

Raised by 24 people in 42 months
Created December 13, 2015
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Jill Hirsh
30 months ago

Best wishes, Shelby!

Bob Diehl
30 months ago

Keep up the great work

John Trice
30 months ago
Sally and Gary Simpson
31 months ago

Congratulations for building a positive SUP team for the boys and girls of Sayulita. We enjoy your posts and look forward to seeing the team grow! Sally and Gary Simpson

LilyGrantDaisyWyatt Z
32 months ago

What you are doing is amazing! We love the updates! We are so happy to see young lives developing with such strong and healthy character. Stay awesome! ❤️

33 months ago
Joe and Susan Culbertson
34 months ago
John and Christine Fuglsang
38 months ago

Congratulations Shelby and Bicho for making a difference in the lives of the children in your community. Lovely to have met you both on the Euro Tour.

Stede Gaehler
38 months ago
Chris Woodward
39 months ago
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