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Paddlers ready for 120-mile trip along NC coast to bring attention to protecting beaches

A group of people along the coast are preparing to set off on a more than 100-mile trip up the state's coastline, and they'll be doing in an outrigger canoe.

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SUNSET BEACH, N.C. — A group of people along the coast are preparing to set off on a more than 100-mile trip up the state’s coastline, and they’ll be doing in an outrigger canoe.

It was a love of the water and a relatively unknown sport that brought these six people together.

“I think that’s the most beautiful part," said Susan Brunell. "I think all of us are watermen and women, we love the water, we’ve been involved in other sports I come from sailing actually, most of my cohorts come from surfing or paddling boarding we’ve all been on the water since we were young.”

The Wrightsville Beach Outrigger Canoe Club practices year-round and competes all around the country, but in just a few months this group will embark on a trip few others could imagine.

In September of this year, to help celebrate the anniversary of the North Carolina Coastal Federation, paddlers from the club will embark on a 120-mile journey from Sunset Beach to Bogue Sound.

“Outrigger paddling is really a connection to the ocean like no other,” said Kerri Allen, an advocate for the North Carolina Coastal Federation.

Their journey will certainly push their limits but they are hoping that their efforts will also gain the attention of the public.

“We go miles and sometimes you see water that is not as clean or very different," said paddler Melissa Luther. "It brings it to the forefront of your mind about what we can do to make it safe for everyone.”

They’re planning to fundraise for the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s projects aimed at protecting and restoring our coast.

“I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to be a part of something that has reached this far, the ultimate goal or the long-term goal being the entire coast of North Carolina so to get the awareness, and answers and education out to more than just our local community is really an honor,” Luther said.

The team of paddlers say they will soon be looking for others who are interested in joining on the journey, and you can follow along on their efforts online.