One competitor who faced more than just bad weather in the 2013 Everglades Challenge was Shane Perrin. Fresh from battling health issues, he entered the race on his standup paddleboard. The grueling expedition style event (which is not sanctioned by the parks service) is organized by a group of diehard boaters called Watertribe. Paddlers and sailors race to finish a 300-mile course from Tampa Bay to Key Largo in less than eight days.
Perrin set off on the journey in challenging conditions. Along the way he was knocked off his board by a rough wave and, after becoming mildly hypothermic, decided to take a rest break on Marco Island to dry off and warm up.
Arriving at a boat ramp, he found a spot to lie down and sleep across from his paddleboard on the dock. While asleep, thieves made off with most of his gear. Upon waking up he was faced with the prospect of having to drop out of the race because he was missing essential equipment.
Word spread of his dilemma through Facebook and other social networking sites and, within hours, he had enough money to replace all the stolen items. Fellow paddlers around the country offered to overnight ship their own equipment or money to get him on the water and back in the race.
Thanks to this incredibly supportive network of paddling enthusiasts, he was able to continue and become the first stand up paddle boarder to finish the race. The finish line at Key Largo was not enough for Shane, however. After finishing the Everglades Challenge, he went on to paddle to Key West. This challenge not only brought out the best of its contestants, but also the best of those who wanted to see a fellow enthusiast complete his dream.