Big Jon Ory is founder of Charleston SUP Safaris, but it has taken him a lot of effort to get to this place. Born in Hawaii, Ory lived where Stand Up Paddle Boarding originated. He moved to Charleston as a young boy and was always in the water on Folly Beach or the Ashley River. After gradutating from Presbyterian College on a football scholarship, Ory returned to Hawaii for a while.

He then spent 11 years directing College and High School international community service programs in New Zealand, Fiji, Puerto Rico, and Central America. Ory’s goal is to get people focused on their natural environment. In 2010, he founded Charleston SUP Safaris to share his knowledge of the local waterways with visitors and residents.

In celebration of the opening of his new Charleston SUP Safaris shop on Folly Beach, Ory is hosting the first ever Shamrock SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) Race on Saturday, March 17. The event will include several races from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm for adults and kids of all ability levels, and a doggie paddle race towards the end of the event.

The theme of the race is Go Green – think green, act green and wear green in the spirit of St. Patty’s Day. Prizes are available to be won by best outfits contests, at raffles, and for a silent auction. SUP Clean UP, Charleston Waterkeepers and Surfrider Foundation will be around during the event to provide educational information about being Green on our waterways.

Boards will be available for rent at $10 each. Entry fees, divisions, and registration forms can be found at Charleston SUP’s website. The event proceeds will benefit Pet Helpers and Emerson Rose Heart Foundation.

The Awards Ceremony will take place at Charleston SUP Safaris located at 83 Center Street, Folly Beach, SC 29439 with a block party following afterwards to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

– Amanda Graham