A Cayman Islands dentist joined hundreds of paddleboarders and canoeists to compete in an eight-mile downwind race in Hawaii last weekend.
Sharn Mentz, originally from South Africa, finished 11th in the ‘open’ category of the OluKai Ho’olaule’a race on Maui’s famous north shore.
Mentz, who works at Ocean Dental, was inspired to compete by his friend Jeff Dyson, who lost his life to ALS, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.
He said he competed in honour of his friend and raised more than $5,000 for the new ALS Cayman foundation.
Mentz, who has been paddleboarding for eight years and was part of a duo that completed the first circumnavigation of Grand Cayman in 2013, said his friend’s fight with ALS and his determination to live his life to the fullest had been an inspiration.
He said, “Over the last few years before he passed, Jeff inspired me to do what I do in the ocean. Every time I didn’t feel like going for a paddle, I would think about Jeff and realise, this, what we call life, is not a rehearsal.”
He has now competed in the Hawaii race for four consecutive years. The race featured 200 competitors, including 80 stand-up paddlers and 120 in outrigger canoes.
Mentz said all money raised would go to support local people suffering from ALS.
To support Mentz, go to www.GoFundMe.com/f/dr-sharn-mentz-paddle-race-for-als.