2019 Paddlers

Scroll down to learn more about each of The Castaways.

Click on the names below (or any of the “DONATE” buttons) to help us reach our individual and team goals.

The Castaways Team Goal for 2019 is $100,000. Thanks for your support!

 

OB

  • Castaways nickname: The Viceroy

  • Years Paddled: 2000;2001;2002;2003;2004 - The Salty Dog Tour;2005 - For the Dutchman;2006 - Seven Year Itch Tour;2007 - Die Another Day Tour;2008 - Whole Nine Yards Tour;2009 - Blood, Sweat and Ten Years Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Team Founder

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Fleet Commander

  • How did you become a Castaway? My mother's long battle with lung cancer.

  • Why are you a Castaway? To alleviate the suffering of all cancer patients.

  • Essential Gear: My life vest; keeps me warm during the summer rains and also doubles as my camp pillow.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Meeting the "popsicle fairy of Vaca Cut"!

  • Favorite Castaways quote: " When you are on the sea, you can't wait to come ashore...and when you're on shore you can't wait to get back in the boats"!

  • My Family: My dad's family were just working-class heroes who first came to Miami from Chicago in 1948.  We were part of the original 1960s "Ridge Rats" from the southern Miami-Dade community known as Cutler Ridge. This was one of the neighborhoods that laid directly in the path of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Today that community is called "Cutler Bay" , but the old Florida Crackers still take pride in calling it the "Ridge". My mother was from Oklahoma, but spent some time in Missouri. A lot of my family had trained in Florida as aviators during World War II, and moved here permanently after the war, to what they believed was paradise!

  • Where are you from? Key West, Florida

  • Where'd you go to school? Christopher Columbus High School, FSU and FIU too.

  • Where do you work? Christopher Columbus High School. (Teacher and former coach)

  • Favorite music/artists: Moby, or any of the post-techno European bands.

  • Favorite movies/genre: "Heat" and the original "Miami Vice"

  • Favorite books: The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius ( and titles from the Stoics)

  • Personal Fun Fact: Even though I have an Irish surname, I'm mostly English and a little bit Fin.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? I tell everyone I meet about our mission and my personal ministry, trying to become more educated in the direction of new cures and actively volunteer my services to anyone who could use a little love.

 

 

Patrick

  • Castaways nickname: Tire Iron (Chin, Pank, Captain, Skipper)

  • Years Paddled: 2000;2001;2002;2003;2004 - The Salty Dog Tour;2005 - For the Dutchman;2006 - Seven Year Itch Tour;2007 - Die Another Day Tour;2008 - Whole Nine Yards Tour;2009 - Blood, Sweat and Ten Years Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Cat Herder

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Commander of the Northern Flotilla

  • How did you become a Castaway? OB invited me to be the 4th-Beatle before the first mission

  • Why are you a Castaway? Cancer is a scourge and must be stopped. We've come so far in so many ways, but so much more needs to be done. We are paddling for a cure.

  • Essential Gear: Shaft, IceMule, YakPad, tennis balls, and gum

  • Favorite Castaways moment: All of them - from 2000's Turkey Point Tourniquet - to 2018's Toilet Seat Row Family-Vacation-Ender.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: "It's the mystery of kayaking. When you're on the land, you want to be on the water. When you're on the water, you want to get to land." ~OB
    "I'm going to dedicate the rest of my life to building a time machine, so I can go back to 1998 and punch you in the mouth." ~ Bob to OB

  • My Family: Proud husband to Patty. Proud father to Christopher and Jason. Proud dog dad to Ruby.

  • Where are you from? Perrine, FL

  • Where'd you go to school? Columbus High, FIU and Hard Knocks

  • Where do you work? A proud non-profit executive with the Boy Scouts of America

  • Favorite music/artists: Top-10: Springsteen, Buffett, Petty, DMB, U2, Counting Crows, BNL, 3EB, Joel, Ben Folds

  • Favorite movies/genre: Too many to list

  • Favorite books: Near a kayak trip? The latest from Hiaasen, Lehane or Meltzer.

  • Personal Fun Fact: Was tear-gassed in Little Havana the day Elian Gonzalez was removed.  Have interviewed Bill Clinton, Steven Van Zandt and Robert Duvall, among others. The first date with my wife, the date I proposed and the date we got married are all the same date. (not the same year)

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Picking up the paddle, not putting it down, and inviting others to help.

 

 

Scholer

  • Castaways nickname: Hemingway

  • Years Paddled: 2007 - Die Another Day Tour;2008 - Whole Nine Yards Tour;2009 - Blood, Sweat and Ten Years Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: I have been known to tell a story or two on the water to help pass the time and miles

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: 2nd Lieutenant

  • How did you become a Castaway? OB compelled me- also my dad has cancer and I lost many friends and students to cancer

  • Why are you a Castaway? Because it is an honor and a privilege to be able to play a small role in the fight and to be able to do it by kayaking from Miami to Key West with you cats

  • Essential Gear: Life vest, pump, water, Gatorade, my hat and a sense of humor

  • Favorite Castaways moment: 2016 when a mating pair of dolphins jumped out of the water- then the female came to my boat, rose up out of the water and essentially put her head in my lap - a very cool moment

  • Favorite Castaways quote: So many to choose from but OB says "The days are long but the week is short- savor it" I always remember that when I'm out there especially on the very long days

  • My Family:  I have two brothers and two sisters and the very best of parents. We are a Miami born and raised family- all my good qualities and my outlook on life and work ethic are a combination of all of them. My Columbus family and Castaways family are better than anyone could ask for. I have two daughters who I adore and make me proud almost daily.

  • Where are you from? I was born and raised in Miami

  • Where'd you go to school? I graduated from Columbus in 1981 and FSU in 1985 I earned my Master's degree from FIU in 1998

  • Where do you work? For the past 31 years, I have taught English and Speech at Columbus.

  • Favorite music/artists: I love the Grateful Dead but my music tastes range wildly as per my playlist that you've heard on the water

  • Favorite movies/genre: I don't watch TV much these days but I like comedies and good dramas when I spend the time and money The Big Lebowski is one of my favorites

  • Favorite books: My favorite writers are James Michener and Ken Follett. As for favorite books- as a writer- mine because they represent my passion and God-given talent for which I am most grateful.

  • Personal Fun Fact: I wrote a book when I was 7 and it was published. I can sing. I used to dye my hair green on St. Patrick's Day and the first day I ever sat in a kayak was Day 1 of my rookie year (2007)

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? I help in the fight by raising awareness and money for the ACS and also by sacrificing and suffering through 7 days of 23 miles a day paddling that I have proudly done 12 times and will do for the 13th time this summer- I paddle in honor of many survivors and victims most notably Patty Lawerence who passed away recently- her strength and spirit will forever be with me on the tours that I paddle

 

 

Greg

  • Castaways nickname: Rainman

  • Years Paddled: 2006 - Seven Year Itch Tour;2007 - Die Another Day Tour;2008 - Whole Nine Yards Tour;2009 - Blood, Sweat and Ten Years Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Team calculator, the barge( bar on the water)

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Lieutenant

  • How did you become a Castaway? In May of 2006, brother in law Jeff Croucher invited me in after learning they a had fellow Castaway that was unable to paddle that year.

  • Why are you a Castaway? There is no better feeling than to give yourself to Mother Sea for the idea knowing somehow someday you will make a difference in at least in that one someone's life that has had the ordeal of battling cancer.

  • Essential Gear: Cooler, radio, fellow castaway at the side, and time to reflect.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: OB's everlasting year after year of lunchtime breaks of peddling the troops for a splash of something in his shaky tin cup other than water.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “look everyone Card Sound Bridge again”

  • My Family: Married to my beautiful wife Karen and two daughters Rowan and Ainsley.

  • Where are you from? Born and raised in Massachusetts.  Lived and Florida since 1988, Reside in Winter Garden, FL

  • Where'd you go to school? Two years at Jacksonville University.  Graduate from University of N. Florida

  • Where do you work? Southwest Airlines 7 years.

  • Favorite music/artists: Partial to Depeche Mode and Jim Croce

  • Favorite movies/genre: Last of the Mohicans

  • Favorite books: A Tom Clancy novel

  • Personal Fun Fact: Nothing fun about me, my humor and heart share the same sleeve.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? A little hard work paddling on the water followed by a little prayer never hurt.

 

 

Pete

  • Castaways nickname: Recon

  • Years Paddled: 2007 - Die Another Day Tour;2008 - Whole Nine Yards Tour;2009 - Blood, Sweat and Ten Years Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Navigator / Search and Rescue Specialist / Trainer

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Chief Warrant Officer, SOG (Special Operations Group)

  • How did you become a Castaway? I read the trip report from the 2006 trip and thought, "That's something I'd like to do."  So, after a failed first attempt at joining the team (I called Bob first) I got in touch with Steve (OB) and joined the team.

  • Why are you a Castaway? I originally joined the Castaways because I wanted to do some longer distance paddling, and yes, the fact that it’s a good cause gave it purpose.  Now, I stay because I’m afraid of what might happen if the team gets caught in another nasty storm.

  • Essential Gear: My strip-built wooden kayak – the ERRV Midnight Oil, and my paddle (nicknamed Excalibur by OB) are my two most essential pieces of gear; I built both from scratch. I also carry lots of other pieces of essential gear: GPS, compass, charts, tow line, rescue stirrup, first aid kit/IV bags, safety gear, survival gear, toolkit, rudder cable replacement kit, and anchor.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: As odd as this might sound, my favorite Castaways moments were performing T-rescues in the middle of the 7-mile bridge storm.  Or… is it lunch at Little Palm Island?

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “There were five people on that boat when they started.” "Make sure everyone else gets to shore, I'll go chase the tandem!" "If you capsize, stay calm, and hold on to your kayak and your paddle."

  • My Family: I've been married to my beautiful wife, Yamila (Yami), for 23 years (she deserves a huge award) and we have one son, Oscar, who's 16.

  • Where are you from? I was born in New York, but I was raised in Miami since I was 3.

  • Where'd you go to school? Southwest Miami High; a couple of classes at Coastal Carolina Community College; Miami Dade Community College; FIU; then, after a few years as a PT, I went back to MDCC for the Fire Academy and EMT School.

  • Where do you work? I'm a Fireman/EMT/Rescue Diver for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (I got tired of the corporate world and left Physical Therapy for a more exciting job).

  • Favorite music/artists: I like country music, but occasionally, I still listen to some classic rock and some newer rock.

  • Favorite movies/genre: My favorite movie is 13 Hours (amazingly sad that most Americans don’t know that true story) Forrest Gump is a close second. Also, my favorite series is Turn, Washington’s Spies.

  • Favorite books: A long time ago, (in a galaxy far, far away) I used to read a lot of Tom Clancy/military/spy novels, but I don’t have time to read anymore.

 

 

Berger

  • Castaways nickname: Hebrew

  • Years Paddled: 2006 - Seven Year Itch Tour;2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: The Skipper's Consigliere

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Lieutenant

  • How did you become a Castaway? I blackmailed the Skipper

  • Why are you a Castaway? It helps me to remember and honor my parents.  The trip usually falls on my mother's yahrzeit (anniversary of her death).  It is now just a part of who I am.

  • Essential Gear: KAVU Chillba Hat

  • Favorite Castaways moment: 2018 Toilet Seat Row

  • Favorite Castaways quote: Anything that OB says

  • My Family: Wife - Robin, Son - Joshua, Daughter, Elizabeth

  • Where are you from? Miami

  • Where'd you go to school? Florida State University

  • Where do you work? Boy Scouts of America - BSA (Yes that is still our corporate name)

  • Favorite music/artists: Imagine Dragons / Violent Femmes  - 80's Rock and Alternative

  • Favorite movies/genre: Star Wars - I believe that is now a genre

  • Favorite books: 2018 Cub Scout Handbooks

  • Personal Fun Fact: My kayak has traveled more on land than it has on the water.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? By making the Castaways Against Cancer part of who I am, not something that I do.

 

 

Pino

  • Castaways nickname: Vino

  • Years Paddled: 2010 - Ocean's 11 Tour;2011 - The Dirty Dozen Tour;2012 - Come Hell or High Water Tour;2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Social Media Assistant.  Mixologist.

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Able Seaman

  • How did you become a Castaway? I supported the CAC for many years and made a ritual of visiting them on night 3 and helping out with transportation.  One year that Bob wasn't going to make it, OB and Hemingway approached me to add another CCHS paddler.

  • Why are you a Castaway? I originally joined the Castaways because of what OB meant to me after being my teacher and Cross Country coach for 4 years.  As the years have passed I see the sadness that Cancer has brought to so many and I want to do my part to honor them and help raise money to fund research.

  • Essential Gear: Hemorrhoid pad: my boat famously has the worst seat in the fleet so it helps relieve my coccyx (who knew it was spelled like that). Hot sauce: package tuna and chef Boyardee get old after day 2 so hot sauce helps to take it up a notch.Sunflower Seeds: pass the time on the boat. Paddle Leash: I'm not the most responsible so it keeps the "keys" safe. Earphones: I use these every night.  Elliot Key to pass the time because everyone gets in their tents so early because of mosquitos and other nights to drown on the snores"

  • Favorite Castaways moment: The Little Palm failure.  When Lou, Patrick, and myself tried to beat the lowering tide as we approached Little Palm and failed.  Lou was stuck knee-deep in muck, Patrick was hiding in the trees in embarrassment, and I was doing my best to be proactive while laughing uncontrollably.  We eventually swam to Little Palm Island.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: "Das Horn"

  • My Family: I am the son of Cuban exiles.  I am married to a Castaway legend and supporter, Mary Beth and have 2 beautiful kids Gabriel and Sophia.

  • Where are you from? Miami, FL

  • Where'd you go to school? Christopher Columbus and FIU. Currently getting my Masters at Southern New Hampshire University (Go Penmen!)

  • Where do you work? Christopher Columbus High School

  • Favorite music/artists: Pearl Jam

  • Favorite movies/genre: Amelie, Shawshank Redemption, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Into the Wild

  • Favorite books: Tipping Point

  • Personal Fun Fact: I’ve traveled to over 50 countries.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Every year I dedicate my trip to different cancer fighters.  I let them know I'm paddling for them and facetime them from the water to let them know that they motivate me to do my part in raising funds to help fight cancer.

 

 

Lou

  • Castaways nickname: El Toro

  • Years Paddled: 2013 - Trip Around the Sun Tour;2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Team Financier (Bag Man)

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Lieutenant

  • How did you become a Castaway? I was approached by an old sea-wizard named O‚Brien. He has very powerful ju-ju

  • Why are you a Castaway? Nothing ever got done by sitting on the sidelines.  Don’t be afraid to leave your fingerprints on life

  • Essential Gear: The Road Crew.  Don’t leave home without them!

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Skipper’s Das Horn rant at Toilet Seat Row.  Inspired by Oden, fueled by Zacapa!

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “Kahnnnnnn!”

  • My Family: Marisa, Vico, Dani and Nina - 3 beautiful and very supportive ladies and goofy,  flip-flop chewing Golden Retriever (that would be Nina!)

  • Where are you from? The Pearl of the Antilles - Havana, Cuba

  • Where'd you go to school? Christopher Columbus H.S. / University of Miami (Go Canes!)

  • Where do you work? U.S. Century Bank

  • Favorite music/artists: Springsteen, Lead Belly, Muddy Waters

  • Favorite movies/genre: Mr. Bean’s Holiday, Casablanca

  • Favorite books: Waiting for Snow in Havana, Learning to Die in Miami - Confessions of a Refugee Boy

  • Personal Fun Fact: Contrary to popular belief, I am not Canadian - but some say I bare a slight resemblance to the late Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? One paddle stroke at a time over 7 days and 162 miles


 
 

Omar

  • Castaways nickname: Pony Boy

  • Years Paddled: 2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Outsider

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? My wife volunteered me

  • Why are you a Castaway? Great cause!

  • Essential Gear: Sardines

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Leaving Elliott Key

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “Who's got ice?”

  • My Family: Lovely wife Mercy and two beautiful daughters, Sophia and Andrea

  • Where are you from? Miami

  • Where'd you go to school? Monsignor Pace High School/Florida International University/University of Miami

  • Where do you work? U. S. Coast Guard

  • Favorite music/artists: Captain Beefheart, Bowie

  • Favorite books: Things to do in Denver When You're Dead, Dracula

  • Personal Fun Fact: Love the outdoors!

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Paddle and raise funds/awareness

 

 

Ozzie

  • Castaways nickname: The Whizz

  • Years Paddled: 2014 - Don't Stop the Carnival Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour

  • Team Role/Function: I help fundraise and usually give the guys a reason to crack a few jokes about me lol.

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Able Seaman

  • How did you become a Castaway? Through El Toro

  • Why are you a Castaway? Because 7 days of pain is worth the opportunity to honor those who have battled cancer.

  • Essential Gear: Radio for tunes and medical tape

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Thinking that my Castaways nickname‚ The Whizz, was strictly a reference to The Wizard of Oz. A few days later, I realized this was not the case...

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “There is no such thing as losing the battle.”

  • My Family: My family consists of my parents and my sister.

  • Where are you from? Cuba

  • Where'd you go to school? Florida International University

  • Where do you work? JP Morgan

  • Favorite music/artists: Favorite music includes rock. Some favorite artists include RHCP, John Mayer, Jack Johnson

  • Favorite movies/genre: I don’t have a favorite movie per se, but I do recommend Peaceful Warrior every now and then.

  • Favorite books : Books on the economy, business, etc.

  • Personal Fun Fact: I plan on traveling the United States in an RV someday.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? I help fundraise by spreading the word about our team and cause and thinking of new ideas to reach our goal.

 

 

Suzy

  • Years Paddled: Castaways nickname: Chiquita    

  • 2015 - East of Midnight Tour;2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Someone has to bring up the rear and I volunteered.  

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? By bringing banana pudding to the team, retired from being a restaurant owner and decided I wanted to relax in my golden years by kayaking 160 miles.

  • Why are you a Castaway? Because I've had first-hand experience with cancer being a 7-year breast cancer survivor.

  • Essential Gear: music, speaker, gloves and lots of water

  • Favorite Castaways moment: sunrises in the morning.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: "Das Horn',  

  • My Family: Been with husband Richard 42 years, we are old hippies so we had some carefree days in our youth.  

  • Where are you from? From Annapolis, MD, lived in the Florida keys 46 years.

  • Went to Annapolis High School and Fl. Keys Community College.

  • Where do you work? Retired.  

  • Favorite music/artists: Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band, and anything old time rock and roll.

  • Favorite movies/genre: Rom-Com, anything with a happy ending.

  • Favorite books: I read most anything.

  • Personal Fun Fact: I love nature and gardening.  Have fish, turtle, wild birds and lots of flowers.

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? I volunteer with ACS in their Road to Recovery and Reach to Recovery programs.  I honor those who've fought the fight by kayaking for different people every day on our 7-day journey with the Castaways.

 

 

Mendoza

  • Castaways nickname: Alice

  • Years Paddled: 2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: I am a supporter.  I believe that everyone has a role and mine is to support my teammates.

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? With OB’s blessing.

  • Why are you a Castaway? Because I lost someone that I love to lung cancer.

  • Essential Gear: GoPro for capturing all the amazing things that happen on the water.  Mayan necklace to be reminded of my roots

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Every year when I realize that I survived Elliot Key

  • Favorite Castaways quote: “What is said on the water, stays on the water”

  • My Family: I’m married to my beautiful wife McKayla and blessed with two beautiful children, Maximus and Stella

  • Where are you from? Born in Leon, Nicaragua and raised in Miami.  

  • Where'd you go to school? I was a public school terror converted to a Marist Catholic School young man.  I went to University of Maine and St. Thomas University

  • Where do you work? Columbus

  • Favorite music/artists: Biggie Smalls, J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar

  • Favorite movies/genre: Training Day, Pearl Harbor, Happy Gilmore, Lion King, and Black Panther

  • Favorite books: The Kite Runner, On the Salty Water, Escape From Davao, Lost in Shangri-la and Dr. Seuss

  • Personal Fun Fact: A fun loving person that does not like negativity

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? I am always challenging myself to raise more money each year and I always paddle for my beloved mother in law.

 

 

Pelegrin

  • Castaways nickname: Chief

  • Years Paddled: 2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Newly assigned storage kayak for Recon’s tools and IV bags.

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank:  Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? After mulling it over for years, I strong-armed OB into letting me do the week… with the agreement, I’d raise close to 5K.

  • Why are you a Castaway? I guess the generic (but so unfortunately true) answer would be because so many around me have been affected by this disease.  Generic as it may sound, this is why I’m a Castaway.

  • Essential Gear:  Snacks (beef jerky is key), chapstick, hat, sunglasses, and Emma Bloom with Baby Bear.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Paddling with the dolphins during the Under the Bridge tour

  • Favorite Castaways quote:  I don’t think I can talk about Toilet Seat Cut

  • My Family: I am married to my beautiful wife Jessica and we are the proud parents of two little girls: Emma and Callie.

  • Where are you from? I was born and raised in Miami.

  • Where'd you go to school? Christopher Columbus High School and Florida State University

  • Where do you work? Christopher Columbus High School

  • Favorite music/artists: Country… Favorite artists are George Strait and Dave Matthew’s Band

  • Favorite movies/genre: The Big Lebowski

  • Favorite books: The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Personal Fun Fact: I can bench press a Volkswagon

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Letting all those individuals know that you are doing this for them and everyone who has fought just like them is my way.  Sometimes they follow the trip online which makes me happy… makes me feel they are along for the ride.

 

 

Jaime

  • Castaways nickname: Julie

  • Years Paddled: 2016 - Proof of Life Tour;2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Cruise Director

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? I always admired the Castaways. One day, I realized 10+ years had passed by and I had done nothing about it!  So I invited Eric Pino to a croqueta... somehow I ended up in a boat. This has been one of the best experiences of my life!

  • Why are you a Castaway? Cancer affects more people every day and it has touched my life in different ways.  Paddling with the Castaways gives me the unique opportunity to take action for the cause while doing something extraordinary.  I hope I can inspire others just as the Castaways inspired me.

  • Essential Gear: A sense of humor.

  • Favorite Castaways moment:  The day I got my Castaway nickname...  We were at Toilet Seat pass having a good time and all hailed in unison a' la Vikings.  At that very moment, a family boat that was approaching promptly stopped and turned around.  I laughed all the way to Islamorada.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: "Two of them, both from OB:  "Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.” "Kayaking with CAC gives you the unique chance to cry hard & laugh harder than you ever have in your life."

  • My Family: Married the love of my life, Claudia in 2009 and we have a beautiful son named Evan James who was probably rockstar in his former life.

  • Where are you from? Miami

  • Where'd you go to school? Columbus in 2000; BS Engineering - University of Florida; MBA - Florida International University

  • Where do you work? Royal Caribbean Cruises

  • Favorite music/artists: An eclectic range from ZBB to DMB to Sinatra with classic rock and 80's & 90's mixed in...

  • Favorite movies/genre: Way too many...

  • Favorite books: I love to read to my son "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"  by Dr. Seuss

  • Personal Fun Fact: "In 2016, I paddled day 3 and my goal was to not capsize.  After a full day of paddling, within 10m of shore and in sight of my family and CCNN cameras...  I flipped. Also, my boat is named the Salty Peanut (after my son)"

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Paddle hard, reach out, fundraise.

 

 

Kari

  • Castaways nickname: Red Bull

  • Years Paddled: 2017 - Just Breathe Tour;2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Team Accountant & Updater of the website (doesn’t know it yet)

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? I lost a dear friend to brain cancer so I called my cousin Patrick to join.

  • Why are you a Castaway? Cancer has taken too many people I know.

  • Essential Gear: Tully hat, sunglasses, sunscreen stick

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Too many to choose 1

  • Favorite Castaways quote: Too many to narrow down

  • My Family: 3 dogs Stella, Hugo & Gigi

  • Where are you from? Durham, NC

  • Where'd you go to school? Carolina Friends School

  • Where do you work? Nelson & Company

  • Favorite music/artists: Country Music

  • Favorite movies/genre: Comedy

  • Favorite books: Esther the wonder pig

  • Personal Fun Fact: I volunteer with an animal shelter

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Fundraise, post on Facebook, keep my friend Greg's memory alive.

 

 

Kumer

  • Castaways nickname: The Machine

  • Years Paddled: 2018 - Under the Bridge Tour;2019 - No Surrender Tour

  • Team Role/Function: I paddle

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? OB.  He asked I responded with a solemn "yes"

  • Why are you a Castaway? I want to do my part in the fight against this terrible disease.

  • Essential Gear: Beef jerky, my Leatherman knife, Burrus's shine, and my 1-man tent.  There's no room for a sleeping bag.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Day 3 will always be memorable, but watching the Skipper float away at the S-Bend ranks up there...for now.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: OB to Julie "just[sic] paddle!"

  • My Family: Married to my better half - Peta - and mother of our two boys: Eliot and Simon.  The household is mostly engulfed in chaos as dinosaurs engage in constant battles with Transformers, and Batman always seems to save the day.  Somehow through the day's adventures children are fed, ears are washed, and prayers are said...lots of prayers

  • Where are you from? Born and raised in Miami

  • Where'd you go to school? Columbus class of 2001, BA from University of San Diego, MA in History from Florida International University

  • Where do you work? I teach History at Columbus

  • Favorite music/artists: The Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Led Zeppelin, the Avett Brothers, Bob Marley, and the Felice Brothers

  • Favorite movies/genre: Anything by Tarantino especially True Romance.  

  • Favorite books: On the Road, Into the Wild, Tortilla Flats

  • Personal Fun Fact: I have a wealth of great Jim Harbaugh stories.

  • Luis and Elena Perez, Dorothy Kumer, and my father Ken Kumer.

 

 

Oscar

  • Castaways nickname: Tank

  • Years Paddled: 2018 - Under the Bridge Tour

  • Team Role/Function: Help in any way possible and provide additional value/help wherever I can. But there are two areas where I feel I do/can bring value.  1-my experience has educated me about the lack of funding and awareness there is for pediatric cancer. I feel strongly that educating our team has further opened people's eyes as to how important raising funds for research is.   2-my bigger goal is to build upon the incredible work the Castaways have done over the years and work with leadership to take this to another level. All while maintaining the amazing camaraderie and chemistry that currently exists amongst this incredible group.  

  • Conch Republic Navy Rank: Not yet inducted

  • How did you become a Castaway? The team graciously offered to paddle a boat in Sebastian's honor in 2017 and allowed us to begin our fundraising efforts.

  • Why are you a Castaway? To make real change in the fight against pediatric cancer specifically. The $75,000 I was able to raise through this campaign will go directly to fund to research projects the SebastianStrong Medical Advisory Board selected. It's incredibly empowering to make a kind of a difference directly.

  • Essential Gear: Sebastian's spirit coursing through my veins.

  • Favorite Castaways moment: Because my history is a brief one, I don't have a lot to pull from.  I can't tell you I had one moment during this trip as I believe there were several. As painful as it was emotionally at times, I felt Sebastian's presence closely several times throughout the journey. Those were my moments and I'll be back for more.

  • Favorite Castaways quote: OB shared during his prayer on the morning of day 7, "Be in the moment, be present".

  • My Family: I'm the son of Cuban exiles and the oldest of four brothers. All four are Explorers starting with me-1988, Javier-1991, Cristian-1994, and Alex-1998. I'm also the father to three boys (Also all Explorers), Oscar-2016, Lucas-2021, and Sebastian-2018 who I lost to a rare form of childhood cancer on December 29, 2016.

  • Where are you from? Miami-born & raised

  • Where'd you go to school? Columbus and FIU

  • Where do you work? Crowe LLP (a national accounting firm)

  • Favorite music/artists: Counting Crows, Dave Matthews Band, 80's music

  • Favorite movies/genre: Pulp Fiction, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

  • Favorite books: Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

  • Personal Fun Fact: I've only lived in 2 homes my entire life

  • How have I helped carry out the CAC mission of finding a cure and honoring those who have fought? Directly through the establishment of the SebastianStrong Foundation whose mission is to increase awareness and raise funding for less toxic, more targeted treatments for pediatric cancer.  Within the first 15 months, since we established SebastianStrong, we've funded nearly $200,000 and three clinical trials for pediatric cancer. There is no greater way to honor Sebastian than by working the rest of my life to help others find better treatment options and outcomes than Sebs had. The ultimate goal of the foundation is to be part of something that leads to saving a child's life. There's nothing I wouldn't do to have Sebastian with me today. Unfortunately, I know that can't happen for me so I will work to make a possibility for others.

    Click here the learn more about SebastianStrong.