Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Waterman Manhattan Circumnavigation Paddle Plan Overview

Mission: To raise awareness and money for Shake-A-Leg Miami so that disabled people and veterans can have as much fun as Kevin on the water.

Challenge: Attempt made by Kevin Horgan, a stand up paddler and stock broker who specializes in International Equities at BTIG, to complete a three lap circumnavigation of Manhattan Island for a total of approximately 85 miles in twenty-four hours. Kevin is the first person to make this attempt. It will test his physical and mental endurance. Kevin hopes that his hard work and sacrifice will catalyze others to make a donation to Shake-A-Leg Miami.

Excitement & Accomplishment: Kevin completed three laps in under twenty-four hours. It took him exactly twenty hours and thirty minutes including a few short breaks. He exceeded everyone's expectations including his own. He started paddling at 1:30pm on Thursday, July 2nd and finished at 10am. Nearly forty-thousand dollars have been raised in support of Shake-A-Leg Miami for the Waterman Manhattan Challenge. We hope that you will consider making a donation. Funds raised will allow thousands of people including disabled kids and veterans, through the Wounded Warrior Project, to experience sailing, learning, and water related activities. To learn more about Shake-A-Leg Miami and Kevin Horgan's Waterman Manhattan Challenge go to

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Crew

Kevin's crew and community made his dream possible. It was only one week ago that Kevin's brother, Harry Horgan, reached out to Kevin to ask him to help with fundraising for Shake-A-Leg Miami. Kevin's idea for the Waterman Manhattan Circumnavigation Paddle was envisioned. Kevin's motto, "Don't think. Paddle." helped energize the cause.
Kevin's company, BTIG, headquartered in New York City, was extremely supportive. Additional support came from his family and his friends in Montauk New York. Chuck Weimar, a longtime friend, met Kevin in Indonesia on a surfing trip. Chuck lives in Montauk and catches up with Kevin in Hawaii on surf trips. He is a commercial fisherman and his company is Rianda S Fisheries. Chuck also paddles and last year he completed a one lap circumnavigation of Manhattan with the organization Sea Paddle NYC. The organization completes a one lap, twenty-eight mile, challenge circumnavigating Manhattan, to raise money for autism. Kevin is the first to complete a three lap circumnavigation. Chuck captained one of the chase boats and commented on Kevin's journey, "It was a pretty normal day for Kevin. He puts his mind to something and he accomplishes it. He's as strong mentally as physically."

Chuck's neighbor in Montauk, Debbie Kuntz, lent Chuck her power boat to serve as a chase boat for the Waterman Challenge. Chuck's girlfriend Jean Ferraro helped Debbie prep the boat and made sandwiches for the crew. Chuck's son Charlie and his grandson Chaz III along with Ritchie Thompson also helped prepare the boat for its trip from Montauk to New York City to meet Kevin and company. Also, Eddy Berrang, Chuck's nephew helped immensely with his efforts on the escort boat.

Another paddler, Dorian Boyle, came through with a second chase boat, Typhoon. Dorian Boyle is a Board Member of Sea Surfers Environmental Alliance. She has previously organized Sea Paddle NYC and she has paddled in the previous two events marking a one lap or 28 mile circumnavigation of Manhattan.

Stu Foley, owner of Air & Speed Board Shop in Montauk were generous enough to lend Kevin the stand up Paddle Board.

John Muir made the operation run flawlessly. He is the idea man with a creative solution to everything.

Cindy Bushnell, Kevin and Harry's sister, has always shared a strong bond with her brothers. Like Harry, Cindy followed Kevin from the chase boat throughout the night. She joked that at 10pm she called her parents in Newport, Rhode Island. She asked them, "It's 10 o'clock. Do you know where your son is?" They replied, "So, where is he? We were worried because of the weather report..." Luckily, all three siblings were just fine...sharing a beautiful night together exploring the New York waterway.

Harry Horgan, Kevin's brother and founder of Shake-A-Leg Miami, reflects on the Waterman Challenge and the significance of his brother's journey:

"As we celebrate the 4th of July, freedom comes at a cost. Sacrifice, hard work, and courage - all the qualities that makes freedom possible. Kevin embodies all that. He did this to raise awareness of the power of water and to step up to use Shake-A-Leg Miami to empower those less fortunate. Kevin did this for all of us to improve our lives especially those living with disabilities."

Please donate to Shake-A-Leg Miami. To learn more about Shake-A-Leg Miami and Kevin Horgan's Waterman Challenge go to

Mission Accomplished

Kevin completed his 3rd lap of Manhattan at 10am this morning. He finished at the North Cove Marina in Battery Park City. Compared to the superyachts crowding the Marina, Kevin was dwarfed in size but his triumph and courage surpassed them all. Kevin paddled to the dock, secured his board, and sprawled out on the dock in exhaustion. He could finally rest after a long hard night of paddling. Both chase boat crews, also exhausted, rested on the dock, Kevin's dreams realized. He could not have done it without their help.

Recapping the past 12 hours:

The first lap was certainly the most difficult for Kevin as he dealt with changing weather conditions and a strong current. He refers to the 2nd and 3rd laps as "the real thing." He chose to listen to his ipod for the later 2 laps keeping in only one ear plug so that he could pay attention if someone from the chase boats needed to speak to him. His choice of music included Tom Petty and Beck. He confided that Lou Reed, "helped me get to Harlem," and "the Grateful Dead helped me down the East River." Kevin often thought of his friends Rex Woods and his son Wayne while completing the circumnavigation. Rex is currently battling cancer. The family are big supporters of Shake-A-Leg Miami. Rex Woods is a premier waterman and the first surfer in New Zealand. While paddling Kevin also thought about his brother Harry, "Harry's the inspiration and his imagination bust through all the limits," he added, "just getting it all done and finding ways to secure funding for Shake-A-Leg Miami."

9:15pm, July 2nd: Kevin starts 2nd lap. He comments, "coming down the back side in Harlem - it was so glassy, it was surreal." The moonlight allowed him to see the course but at one point he shouted to the chase boat, "Eddy, get out of my moon." Kevin is so modest that he kept repeating throughout the journey, "paddling is the easy part and sitting on the chase boat for hours on end is the hard part."

At midnight there appeared to be a considerable accident along the West Side Highway. Three fire trucks lined the scene. The fireman, standing along the river, all bowed to Kevin out of respect and amazement.

2am, Kevin is halfway down the East River when the current is ripping and pushing him backwards. Chuck, Kevin's friend in the chase boat, demands Kevin to get onboard now so that he can adjust Kevin's position because of the tides. Kevin spent 85% of the time paddling against the current or for 18hours. Despite this huge obstacle, Kevin wanted to keep going and complete a 4th lap around. He admits, "I have a paddling problem. I want to go a little further...I am the Forest Gump of paddling."

2:45am, both chase boats receive a call from the US Coast Guard for a status update and to make sure everything is ok.

In addition to listening to music and finding inspiration from his friends and family, Kevin requires fuel to keep going. His sister Cindy Bushnell prepared whole wheat sandwiches, cut in half, with honey peanut butter, and a bananna. Kevin made a special request for this sandwich. He also carried a small Camelback pack with a running supply of water mixed with electrolytes. He may have overdone the electrolytes, along with shot blocks, and next time water may be his preferred choice of drink.

When Kevin finished the 3rd lap he later returned for a short while to his hotel room in Battery Park City. When he met the bell guy in the front lobby, Kevin exclaimed, " I paddled around Manhattan three times and I am shot." The bell guy responded, "you got shot at in Harlem!" Kevin then clarified, "no, I paddled past Harlem three times and I am shot - tired!"

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kevin completes first lap

8:45pm - Kevin celebrates the first lap and circumnavigation of Manhattan Island. He raises his paddle in triumph as he finishes off the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Kevin exclaims while taking a short break on the chase boat, "Warm up lap is done. I feel good. Harlem is hard but now I've got my rhythm."

The Horgan brothers have a conference call with Tim Johnson - the local expert on the current and tides. "We're heading back to Harlem," Kevin concludes as he speaks with Tim on the phone. Kevin will start his second lap by returning the way he came. He decided to take this route because either way he had to paddle into the current. He preferred to combat the 2 knot head current on the Hudson River rather than the 4 knot current along the East River.

According to Tim Johnson, "He's doing it Soprano style. He just did the bada-bing and now he's doing the bada-boom."

Please stay tuned for more coverage of Kevin's journey.

A special thanks to the US Coast Guard for their ongoing support of Kevin's mission. They are our big brother on the New York waters. Michael Fortebaugh, Commodore of the Manhattan Sailing Club, has also provided support and dockage at the North Cove Marina.

To learn more about Shake-A-Leg Miami and Kevin Horgan’s Waterman Challenge go to Please join the Waterman Manhattan challenge. Kevin has worked hard, perservered and is determined to raise funds to make disabled sailing not just a dream but a reality. Thank you for supporting this great cause.

Paddling into the sunset Kevin nears the finish of the first lap and circumnavigation of Manhattan Island

6:25pm - Kevin has successfuly paddled the Harlem River and he is now re-rentering the Hudson. What a great sight to watch him duck under the bridge. He waits for an oncoming train to pass below. Tim Johnson, a local tidal and current expert, congratulates Kevin on making good time.

6:55pm - Kevin takes a break after paddling under the George Washington Bridge. A chase boat, carrying Kevin's sister Cindy Bushnell, pulls alongside Kevin so he can take a short rest. Kevin never leaves his craft. This marks Kevin's first break after 5.5 hours of paddling. What a beautiful backdrop with the George Washington Bridge and the little red lighthouse adjacent to it.

7:15pm - Kevin passes the second chase boat and exclaims, "I'm feeling good. Its nice to have the tide running with me."

8pm - Kevin hugs the shoreline of the West Side Highway near the 95th Street exit. Joggers and bicyclists pass him in either direction and its seems perfectly normal for a person to be standing on a surfboard paddling. Little do they know Kevin is standing on that board and paddling for 24 hours straight. Kevin shouts out to the chase boat, "the warm up lap is almost over and I'm ready for the real thing."

To learn more about Shake-A-Leg Miami and Kevin Horgan’s Waterman Challenge go to

Follow Kevin's Journey

Its currently 5:35pm and Kevin is entering the Harlem River. The afternoon has proved exciting. Kevin's journey started at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum at 1:30pm where he was followed by two chase boats -- one with family and the other with the New York Press photographing his every move. People waved and shouted to Kevin as he passed the Battery Park Esplanade. New Yorkers have seen a lot of things but never a man standing on a surf board paddling on the Hudson River.

Watching Kevin paddle past the Statue of Liberty was a spectacular sight. The sky turned dark and grey but Kevin didn't seem to care. He kept paddling past the Southern tip of Manhattan and kept a lookout for the Staten Island Ferry and other boat traffic. Then the sky opened up just as Kevin paddled under the Brooklyn Bridge. The press took for cover but Kevin appeared to enjoy the refreshing downpour. Miraculously the rain stopped as Kevin emerged under the Williamsburg Bridge.

Kevin waved goodbye to the press, wearing his Shake-A-Leg Miami hat, at 4:15pm. The press crew was dropped off by 135th Street on the dock adjacent to the F Dawson, Port of New York, tugboat. He continued past the new and old Yankee Stadium towards the Harlem River.

Adventurer Kevin Horgan starts his 24 hour circumnavigation of Manhattan

Most people circumnavigate the New York waterways via sailboat or powerboat. Extreme adventurer Kevin Horgan has a different idea that breaks all boundaries. He has come to Manhattan to paddle the island for 24 hours straight. He hopes to complete three laps around the island totallying a distance of more than 80 miles. This will be his greatest challenge to date. His previous record is 73 miles between the Oahu and Kauai Hawaiian islands completing in 23 hours.

Kevin's passion for the water started as a child. He grew up in Newport, Rhode Island, the Sailing Capital of the United States. Kevin now works in Hawaii as a stock broker who specializes in International Equities at BTIG. Although he lives a far distance from his family, he is a big supporter of his older brother, Harry Horgan. Harry Horgan is many people's heroes. 18 years ago, after overcoming a paralyzing injury, Harry started a non-profit called Shake-A-Leg Miami. Harry's foundation serves thousands of people with various challenges each year. Most notably, Shake-A-Leg provides a safe haven for kids with disabilities to come learn, sail, swim, and form friendships. Kevin's ongoing support and encouragement for his older brother and his organization is the reason why Kevin is paddling today. According to Kevin, "I hope to raise awareness and money for Shake-A-Leg Miami so that disabled people can have as much fun as me on the water." With that in mind, Kevin started his adventure at 1:30pm this afternoon leaving from the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum in Lower Manhattan.