The Unbalanced Paddlerboarder, Mike Shoreman, was live on Starboard’s Facebook Page (Wednesday, 21 July). Mike introduces himself and tells us more about his next fundraiser & awareness campaign for mental illness – SUP crossing from the US to Canada, New York to Toronto across Lake Ontario.
More about Mike:
In November 2018, Toronto-based Stand Up Paddle coach Mike Shoreman was diagnosed with a rare disease, the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
This sudden neurological condition changed his whole life, destroyed his paddle boarding career and left him physically and mentally unbalanced, incapacitated and told he would never paddleboard again by specialists. He set out on a mission to prove everyone wrong.
Mike shares his story of overcoming adversity around the world inspiring and motivating people to overcome the greatest obstacles standing in their way. He encourages people to use their fears and struggles as their greatest weapons and drives audiences to become the most confident versions of themselves.
Get to know the man who decided to stand up again and now, together with Starboard, he wants to continue adding challenges to his career.
“When I lost my sense of balance, my mobility from a neurological condition in 2018- it was a huge blow. I think most of us who turn the hobby or passion of paddle boarding into a profession are lifers. My identity was stripped away and I felt lost for a long time. Mentally it was the toughest thing I’ve ever been through. Being told my business was over and paddle boarding wasn’t a reality for me anymore and would make me sick. When I first got on a board again in the Spring of 2019 I lasted three minutes sitting down and it did make me sick. It also gave me the confidence that I could go for three more minutes a week later and then five. Two months later, after almost a year of physiotherapy, retraining my brain to walk again I stood up for a few minutes.
I have now pivoted my professional life and started a new career as a corporate speaker, author and lifestyle expert with several online apps. I became a columnist in newspapers writing about mental health and where I went emotionally and psychologically. I became involved with mental health organizations because I wanted to give back. I think most people who experience something significant feel drawn to become advocates. I have been an advocate of Jack.org for a few years now championing youth mental health programs. Groms- they just don’t know it yet!
Last year I organized my second mental health event and raised several thousand dollars for youth mental health programs, but I noticed because of the pandemic, not a lot of people came and a huge dip in funds raised and what could be done.
When I won the SUP Connect Man of the Year award this year it changed things for me- how can I use that to do some good and make it impactful? I can become the first person with a disability to cross from one country to another by paddle board raising funds and awareness for youth mental health programs and services. That will raise money for them. Crossing from the US to Canada, New York to Toronto in a three-day trek with two safety boats supporting me and a fleet of the Toronto Marine Police Unit on August 22nd to August 24th.
I am grateful for STARBOARD’s support with sponsoring the event. I know it’s going to be a lot of work out there. I’ve never done anything like this. I’ll still have vertigo and dizziness. But STARBOARD’s got my back and I have built awesome teams.
~ Mike Shoreman – The Unbalanced Paddleboarder