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Virginia “Ginny” Cohen

Hometown:  Virginia Beach, VA

Why I SUP:
My first attempt at stand up paddling, I admit, ended up being my number one kook moment of all time.  Without going into great detail, let’s just say that it ended with my husband ‘borrowing’ a kayak to rescue me, and an emergency boat ride aboard the “Wild Cat.”  But, I’ve never been one to give up and after surrounding myself with great mentors that taught, modeled and encouraged me in the fine art of stand up paddling, I completed 28 miles around New York City this past August in SEA Paddle NYC (without a tow or boat rescue, I might add.)

SEA Paddle NYC had been in my sights from the first time it came across my computer screen, especially since some of the funds raised are put towards one charity that is near and dear to my heart, Surfers Healing.  A little over a year ago I started training for SEA Paddle NYC and since then my passion/obsession for paddling has taken off.

Promoting the Sport:
I can’t say that I do all of this on my own – fortunately I have a husband that is as passionate about the water and doing things for children with disabilities as I am, so together here’s some of what we do with our boards:

Co-Director – Surfers Healing Virginia Beach (a surf camp for kids with Autism)
During the summer over 300 kids feel the incredible power of the sea through surfing.  We do one big camp in August with the national foundation taking out over 200 children, and run mini-camps of 30-50 kids from June through September.

Organize and run BOOBS, aka Babes Only On Board Paddle Club to promote the sport of stand up paddling, providing demos and lessons to get ladies stoked on the sport.  This was our inaugural summer and Starboard was there to check it all out.

Organize and run the Shadowlawn Surf Club, our neighborhood surf club for the kids.  We meet each Wednesday from June through August and teach the groms about wave etiquette, water safety and get the parents out there pushing them into waves.  On an average Wednesday we’ll have between 50 and 75 kids out in the water.

Director of Stand Up VB, a 10 mile sea paddle around Virginia Beach to promote the sport of stand up paddling as well as raise money for Surfers Healing VB and Team Hoyt VB.  2010 was the inaugural year and we had 50 participants and raised over $6000 for these great causes.

Team runner for Team Hoyt VB, running races from 5K’s to half-marathons while pushing children with disabilities in jog strollers to show them that, “Yes, you can do anything!”

When I’m not in the water:
I’m a graphic designer and photographer, and am trying really hard to raise our two groms Eliza, 10 and Quinn, 8, to both love and respect the sea and to show the world that the term ‘disability’ should not be a label but rather a driving force to move beyond.

Next Up:
Figuring out a way to incorporate children with disabilities into stand up paddling and teach them how to ‘walk on water.’

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