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Astoria Resident Takes on Grueling Paddleboard Challenge For Charity

July 31, 2019 By Shane O’Brien

An Astoria resident is preparing to take part in a 25-mile paddle around Manhattan this weekend in order to raise money for environmental protection and autism awareness.

Noriko Okaya will be one of more than 100 people who will paddleboard the grueling course around Manhattan this Saturday.

In the process, she will be raising funds in support of various autism and environmental causes that protect the waters off the New Jersey coast and beyond.

This is Okaya’s third year tackling the event. She has previously paddled the two SEA Paddle charity events but has only been paddling for four years overall.

Okaya, originally born in Nagoya, Japan, grew up in Tokyo and now works as a translator. Aside from her job, she enjoys paddling for recreation and fitness.

She noted that it takes training to participate in an event of this caliber.

“I paddle throughout the year, but I condition myself for this event at least two months in advance. Prior to the past two events, I got a group together to prepare for — and participate in — the event, which was helpful and made it a much more memorable experience.”

Okaya says, “While training and participating in the event is quite beneficial for improving your paddling skills and getting healthier and stronger, the most important thing that this event does is to bring people together and connect you with the environment.”

Okaya also touched on the importance of setting personal goals to stay focused while training for the SEA Paddle: “Having a goal really helps. The distance can be overwhelming, and the conditions may be discouraging, but keep breathing and paddling and you’ll get there. There’s nothing like circumnavigating Manhattan—it’s the best way to see NYC!”

The success of this charity event depends highly on those who volunteer, participate, and donate, and Okaya urges people to participate in some way—paddling, volunteering, donating or just spreading the word on their social media.

To learn more or register for the event, visit

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