SOURCE: The Keep A Breast Foundation

March 29, 2010 17:12 ET

Surfer Jodie Nelson Becomes First Woman to Paddle Nearly 40 Miles for Breast Cancer

Rare Minke Whale Followed and Encouraged Her as She Fought Exhaustion

DANA POINT, CA--(Marketwire - March 29, 2010) -  Professional surfer and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) ambassador Jodie Nelson became the first woman to paddle 39.8 grueling miles from the island of Catalina to Dana Point yesterday. She finished in 9 hours, one minute and 21 seconds, all in an effort to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research and prevention.

Jodie started her journey at 6:15 a.m. on Sunday, March 28, the only person doing a solo paddle as part of the Ohana Ocean Catalina Challenge. On the top of her paddleboard, she had printed names of loved ones close to her who were affected by breast cancer. Her mother is a breast cancer survivor, her aunt is a cancer survivor and one of her dearest friends is currently battling the disease.

"I wanted to go out there and do something big and overwhelming, something I had a good chance of failing at... I see so many people who have battled and who are beating breast cancer, they are tackling something bigger than them. They keep fighting and don't give up. I want to motivate people to keep fighting!"

18 miles into the paddle, Jodie had a close encounter with a 30-foot minke whale, which are fairly rare for the waters but are known to be friendly and docile. She dubbed him Larry and watched as he blew bubbles beneath her, fluked, and showed her his belly. The whale stayed with Jodie for about an hour and a half. "It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen in my life," she said.

According to Ray Hsieh from the Crow's Nest Boat Center, who was driving Jodie's support boat, "I've been boating and fishing all my life and have never seen anything like what I saw today. It was so strange, I actually called my friends at Sea World to ask them if it was normal, and they said, 'It's your lucky day! That whale is just playing. Sit back and enjoy the show.' So I did."

Jodie's campaign to "Paddle With Purpose" is supported by Emergen-C Pink®, which Jodie used during training to help prepare her for the endurance mission.

Jodie's goal is to raise $100,000, and so far she has reached about $8,000. All funds go toward The Keep A Breast Foundation and Boarding for Breast Cancer. To donate, go to http://www.paddlewithpurpose.com

Editor's note: Video and still footage of Jodie's journey, the gray whale and heartfelt welcome by her family and friends is available upon request or by visiting http://tinyurl.com/ygj3wq6 or http://tinyurl.com/yeg48tv

About Jodie Nelson
Jodie Nelson gracefully walks the line between accomplished competitor and soul surfer. Her natural charisma, athleticism and commitment to surfing have made her one of the sport's best and most highly respected ambassadors. She has received praise for her on-camera hosting at the X Games, Fuel TV, and numerous webcasts, and has appeared on the pages of such magazines as Elle, Lucky, CosmoGIRL!, Seventeen and Jane. Jodie and a business partner recently started a company called The SUP Spot, which focuses on all things Stand Up Paddling. In addition to her surfing, Jodie is an accomplished photographer, an avid traveler and loves playing guitar and songwriting. She currently resides in San Clemente, California.

About The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB)
The Keep A Breast Foundation™ is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support. Through art events, educational programs and fundraising efforts, we seek to increase breast cancer awareness among young people so they are better equipped to make choices and develop habits that will benefit their long-term health and well-being. www.keep-a-breast.org

About Boarding For Breast Cancer (B4BC)
Boarding For Breast Cancer is a non-profit, youth-focused education, awareness, and fundraising foundation. Our mission is to increase awareness about breast cancer, the importance of early detection and the value of an active lifestyle. www.b4bc.org

About Alacer Corp, makers of Emergen-C®
For more than 35 years, Alacer Corp., based in Foothill Ranch, California, has been an industry leader and innovator in developing, manufacturing and marketing dietary supplements and nutritionally-enhanced products that support an energetic, healthy lifestyle. It produces over 400 million packets annually of Emergen-C, which is sold in health food stores, supermarkets, drug stores, mass merchandisers and club stores nationwide. www.emergenc.com

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