The idea for this expedition began with a simple text.
Me: "Hey Kelly, want to circumnavigate Taiwan next year?
Kelly: "Yes, yes I do."
Honestly, when I asked Kelly, I didn't really expect her to be up for it. After all, Taiwan is far, expeditions take a lot of time and planning, plus we both have/had full-time jobs that gave us little time to paddle even on our own beloved California coastline. But, within three hours, Kelly had found two contacts for coaches who taught and paddled in Taiwan plus a call for applications for a Hobkey Adventure Grant. "Dang," I thought, "Kelly's getting serious."
And then we both dove into seriously planning head first without looking back!
Fast forward one month, and we've planned the blueprint for our Taiwan expedition, which we've lovingly dubbed Fearless Formosa. Applying for the Hobkey Adventure Grant gave us the initial motivation to really get our plans in order and we're grateful to be among five other amazing adventures in the final round.
About the Hobkey Grant
Hobkey is a European company started by the incredibly skilled Slovenian paddler and entrepreneur, Marin Medak. Hobkey makes paddling inspired keychains that also serve as great teaching props (several coaches at California Canoe and Kayak use them when teaching surfing and open coast -- Kelly included).
10 percent of all keychain sales go to fund the grant, which this year equaled 4,500 Euros split across Sea Kayak, Canoe, SUP, and Whitewater Kayak. The first and second place finalists in each category gets 500 Euro, which helps a lot (anything helps!) while the third and fourth place gets some swanky gear. Throughout the process for applying, Marin has emailed all the applicants and finalists personally. It's fun and humanizing to get emails from a world-class paddler :)
The first round of the grant competition comprises as shortlist of 50 top applications being selected from an initial screening. The second round goes to a panel of judges to whittle down the top five. The Judging Committee for Sea Kayak included some of sea kayaking's rock star coaches. I kinda get the feels just knowing that they read my application.
So that leads us to now, the final round of open, public vote and where we need your help!
To vote go to the Hobkey Grant Website and select "Expanding Taiwain's Sea Kayaking Community." You won't regret it.