Events/News

Sea Kayak Journey along Long Island Coast to Challenge Disabled Athletes

By Richard Rhinehart

August 4, 2014, Westhampton Beach, New York – Ten disabled athletes age 22 to 60 will join ten able-bodied athletes to travel 22 nautical miles by sea kayak along the Long Island coast during national non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports’ August 19-20 Coastal Team Challenge.

Team members prepare for a test run.

Team members arrive at the coast for a test run in mid-July. Photograph by Alex Rohman.

Created in partnership with Long Island non-profit Independent Home Living Program and national financial services company American Portfolios Financial Services Inc., the overnight journey along the island’s southern coast from Westhampton Beach to Patchogue will not be easy for these developmentally and physically-disabled athletes. Rowing along the sea lane between rest stops, the athletes will undertake the many challenges of open water boating, from tides to fast-moving summer showers to wakes from passing ships. Close teamwork and cooperation between team members will help these athletes safely reach their destinations.

Chris Levi assists with the test kayak run.

Veteran Chris Levi (in yellow shirt in front) participates in the test run for the Coastal Team Challenge in mid-July 2014. Photograph by Alex Rohman.

“I’ve always wanted to bring World T.E.A.M. Sports to Long Island and could not think of a more perfect outdoor inclusive challenge—a coastal team kayak adventure in its surrounding waters—with a highly regarded organization—IGHL—in which to launch this inaugural event,” said Lon Dolber, Chief Executive Officer of American Portfolio Financial Services, an independent broker-dealer that is serving as the event’s presenting sponsor. “I am excited at the prospect of this becoming a Long Island community tradition to be held every year,” he said.

A primary sponsor of World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 2009 Pacific Northwest Coastal Team Challenge that included injured Canadian and American military veterans, American Portfolios has enthusiastically supported inclusive sporting events from the Holbrook, New York non-profit. Serving as a member of World T.E.A.M. Sports‘ board of directors, Dolber encourages the organization to create new events that challenge athletes with disabilities.

Kayaking along the coast.

Kayaking along the Long Island coast. Photograph by Alex Rohman.

World T.E.A.M. Sports is excited about the return of this event,” said Chief Executive Officer and President Van Brinson. “Adding the Challenge back to our lineup expands our outreach of fully inclusive events. We will continue to look for non-traditional events that showcase the dynamic interaction that occurs when athletes with and without disabilities are paired together to achieve a common goal.”

Using Hobie two-person Mirage Oasis kayaks, the teams will remain within sight of land during their non-competitive journey. Rest stops scheduled for each day will keep the athletes fresh, fed and hydrated. In addition, power boats will travel alongside the teams to provide assistance for unexpected emergencies.

2014 Coastal Team Challenge map.

Map of the 2014 Coastal Team Challenge. Courtesy Alex Rohman.

Following camping on the beach at Smith Point County Park, the athletes will have a choice of routes on August 13. A shorter northern route of eight nautical miles or a longer southern route of 14 nautical miles provide teams with different challenges. All teams will arrive at Leeward Cove Marina in Patchogue by mid-afternoon for a celebration at Dublin Deck with friends, families and followers of a successful completion.

Sponsors and partners for World T.E.A.M. Sports’ 2014 Coastal Team Challenge include Independent Home Living Program, American Portfolios Financial Services, TimeCapital and Capital One Bank. Each partner provides valued support for the Challenge, from sponsorship funding to logistical support to volunteer assistance.

Trial run for the kayaks.

Kayaking in the waters south of the Long Island coast, trial run, July 2014. Photograph by Alex Rohman.