Santa Barbara- S County

Friendship Paddle crosses the Channel to Santa Barbara Saturday

This year's crossing honors Genny Sowers Maxwell

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A large and festive celebration of life is happening right now across the Channel on Santa Cruz Island.

The first leg of the annual Friendship Paddle kicked off this morning from East Beach.

Dozens of paddlers, surfers and boaters made their way to Forney's Cove on the west end of the island Friday morning. They're taking part in Saturday morning's Channel-crossing paddle, back to East Beach, in honor of Genny Sowers Maxwell. 

The mother of two works for Citrix and is living with cancer which has metastasized to her liver. 

Donations raised will go toward helping Maxwell's young family. 

The Friendship Paddle was created in 2003 by a group of friends of Doug Mcfadden's. The young Santa Barbara husband and father eventually lost his battle to brain cancer. 

Organizers say the second and most emotionally riveting leg of the event happens Saturday afternoon, when the paddle community crosses the Channel back to shore in Santa Barbara. 

The group's arrival is expected to happen roughly between 3:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. along East Beach. 

For more information or to donate, log onto

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