This effort aims to create awareness of the devastation in Lebanon, offer support and solidarity to the Lebanese people as well as financial aid.
In the last couple of years, I have been following the political turmoil, financial crisis, exchange rate crisis and capital controls imposed in Lebanon. Through friends and associates we kept hearing how the financial system of Lebanon was collapsing, and the country was nearing bankruptcy. Then came the explosion in Beirut. When I first watched the various videos of the explosion it seemed like it was a hoax. When the horror of the explosion unfolded and the devastation it had caused became clear, it was just heartbreaking. I spoke to some of my Lebanese friends and everyone was affected in one way or another. That is when I started contemplating how I can help.Christis Michaelides
Through the initiative “Paddle for Beirut” all parties involved are sending a message to the Lebanese people that we care about the hardships they are going through and it has touched us. We appreciate that this is a very difficult period for them and that any help is welcome, in all shapes and forms. So, we are undertaking this effort to practically and objectively offer our support.
When I first came up with the idea of doing something noteworthy to help the Lebanese people, I talked about it with my friend Costas Symeonides, who has made a number of daring and long distance SUP crossings for charity and is a true pioneer in this area. He immediately embraced the idea and agreed to advice in my preparation.
Such an endeavor requires a great amount of planning and logistics. It was evident to me -right from the start- that this could not be a one-man show. It requires the support of an organisation with a strong conviction for Corporate Social Responsibility, global footprint and the resources as well as experience to undertake all the logistics leading up to the fundraising and ensuring that the funds collected reach the intended parties. Herbalife Nutrition is such an organisation and it is thanks to them that “Paddle for Beirut” transcended from an idea to reality. I am humbled and deeply grateful by their support and willingness to do their utmost in order for this endeavor to become a success story.Christis Michaelides
Who is Christis?
I have two passions, training hard and the sea. Growing up on an island with a warm Mediterranean climate, meant that both passions could be fused into one. From the age of 5 I have been involved with the sea, sailing, skiing, windsurfing, free diving, spearfishing, and swimming. My first contact with a SUP board was about 7 years ago. Since then, SUP is an integral part of my routine. I sup an average of 4-5 times a week, all year round. It’s never too hot or too cold to get on the board because weather conditions are almost always ideal.
In order to prepare for this crossing, I have been supping intensely for a few months now, but in August I entered into a more disciplined training regime that includes sup, cycling and stretching. As the event approaches, the training hours per week are increasing, but at a certain pace in order for my body not to be shocked and shut down. Training includes 3 – 4 hours of SUP or cycling per day and in some cases both. This translates into waking up as early as 03:30 to finish training and be at the office at 08:30.Christis Michaelides