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CENTRAL COAST LIVING: Passion for paddling - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

CENTRAL COAST LIVING: Passion for paddling

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Central Coast living in the summer often means sunny skies and still waters - practically perfect conditions for what is fast becoming the favorite water sport for people of all ages and skill levels: stand-up paddle boarding. 

Steve Nyswonger paddles almost every day. 

"The field of view you get is so much more interesting," Nyswonger said. "You're like standing on the water and you can see out and you can see everything around you. You can actually see down into the water."

One of Nyswonger's favorite paddling experiences is cruising alongside baby whales in Pismo Beach last summer. His paddling hobby takes him all over the Central Coast. 

"From Avila Beach we'll go down to Pismo Beach or we'll stop by Shell," he said. "There are all kinds of beautiful rock structures. There are caves, there are all kinds of wildlife. I mean, it's all here."

Nyswonger gets his paddling gear at California Kiteboarding where despite the Pismo Beach business's name, shop owner Jason Lee says paddle boards are the top seller. 

"It seems like every year, all our sales every year keeps getting bigger and bigger," Lee said. "I'm selling more boards, getting more people into and there's always new things evolving with paddle boards." 

San Luis Obispo County firefighter Teddy Borja got hooked on paddling a few years ago. 

"When I have a rough call, my family understands that I can go out and paddle, do that and I come back pretty much refreshed," Borja told KSBY. 

Professional paddler Nikki Gregg came to the Central Coast last year to be teach others how to paddle board. 

"I've stand-up paddled all over the world but there's something really special about this place and the people here," Gregg said. 

She fell in love with Central Coast living and the local paddling community. 

Gregg and Borja are part of a group of locals who are using their passion for paddling to pay it forward this weekend. The team of six will paddle all day and night in Morro Bay as part of a worldwide effort to fight cancer called the Monster and Sea 24 Hour Paddle. 

"Between the Cayman Islands, the United States and Canada, there are 22 teams out there and our goal is to raise $100,000 collectively," Borja said. 

The Morro Bay team aims to raise $6,000 for local families facing cancer. Each family will receive $1,000 in cash. 

"We want these recipient families and families out there that are struggling and battling cancer to know that we're behind them," said Borja. 

The mission of the 24 hour paddle hits home for Gregg. 

"Knowing that my own mom died of cancer, it's really hard so definitely she'll be on my mind a lot when I'm out there," she said. 

Gregg says if you're interested in paddling, this weekend is a perfect time to get in the water and try it with them. 

"If they can just show up to the beach, give some emotional support or even come and paddle with us, that would be great. We would love to see you out here." 

Before you take up paddling, make sure to follow these safety tips from paddling experts: get a leash for your board, wear a life jacket or other flotation device as well as a whistle. Also, check the weather ahead of time and avoid paddling in stormy, windy conditions. 

You can support the Monster and Sea 24 Hour Paddle by cheering on the paddlers as they take off from Coleman Beach in Morro Bay at 8:00 a.m. Saturday. The paddle will conclude at 8:00 a.m. Sunday. 

The team also encourages donations through this GoFundMe account

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