Early in 2016, Portland resident Ginny Kauffman was inspired by a photo of a few paddlers dressed as witches in Morro Bay, CA, and thought, "we should do that here!" Combining two loves (Halloween and SUP), what could be better? She forgot about the photo until it resurfaced 3 weeks before Halloween. She posted the idea on local Facebook paddle group pages, suggested a date, time and location, and was surprised when about 30 people showed up.
Local and national news shared the event and it went quickly went viral. It has become a yearly tradition (usually the Saturday before Halloween), growing exponentially in attendance and popularity each year (except 2020 due to the pandemic), with paddlers traveling from out of state to join the fun.
Paying it forward, our event has been the inspiration for similar events in various cities across the country.
Each year we take the opportunity to gather together not just for our love of SUP and Halloween, but to raise money and awareness for some choice and worthy local organizations.
First, we will once again sponsor Stumptown Strays, whose mission is to rescue shelter dogs with medical needs, provide them with life-saving veterinary care, and aid them on the path to their forever homes. You can support them as well by fostering or adopting a dog, or donating money (be sure to mention PDXSUPWITCHES when donating).
We've sponsored Sunshine Division in the past and are doing so again this year.
For over 100 years, Sunshine Division has been providing free emergency food & clothing relief to struggling families & individuals in the greater Portland area. Over the years, Sunshine Division has provided tens of millions of meals to generations of Portland families. Last year alone, Sunshine Division fed over 90,000 households, about a quarter of which received food via its home-delivery program. This program started in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has since become a permanent fixture of its mission to feed families experiencing food insecurity.
Sunshine Division was founded in 1923 as part of the Portland Police Bureau before branching off as a nonprofit in the 1960s, continuing its charitable work in conjunction with police and community partners. Please consider supporting them as well.