When Canadian Duane Magis stood on a paddle board for the first time here three years ago, it sparked a passion for the sport that would change his life for ever. These days, Magis can be found out on the water at least five days a week, ripping it up in the surf, pushing himself on a long distance paddle, or just cruising along the beach to relax. As well as getting fit and losing weight, getting out on a paddle board helped him fall in love with the Cayman Islands all over again.
Having lived in Cayman on and off since the mid-90s, Magis wanted to put something back into the community and also raise the profile of stand up paddle boarding. The painful illness and passing of businessman John Bunton due to diabetes prompted Magis to reach out to The Cayman Islands Diabetes Charitable Trust and offer to organise a fundraising event earlier this month. There were many generous sponsors, including Caribbean Marine Services.
Russell Bunton, John’s son, said: “Once the idea was born, Duane worked tirelessly to ensure this inaugural event was a huge success. The testament to his efforts was evident as 70 paddlers turned out for the event and many corporate sponsors made generous donations, resulting in over $8,000 being raised for the Trust. My family is truly grateful to Duane for his hard work.”
Magis hopes to build on the event for next year to introduce a competitive element as well as a fun one for all ages and abilities. He’s full of ideas to make it bigger and better – but for now, it’s back to the water for some well earned relaxation.
Magis is site manager for LG Contracting and is the volunteer manager for the rugby sevens squad which came second in the recent Caribbean Championships to the mighty Guyana.
Magis said: “I feel so lucky to get to enjoy stand up paddling nearly every day. We have such a beautiful coastline to explore here in Cayman. I’m really happy at how the fundraising event came together to honour the memory of my friend John Bunton, raise funds for the Trust and promote the growing sport of SUP.”