NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Dozens of paddleboarders took part in the Surfers’ Environmental Alliance’s eighth annual SEA Paddle NYC fundraiser Monday in an effort to raise money for autism and environmental programs.

Edmonds Bafford had his board in the East River and paddle in hand as he began the 25-mile journey counterclockwise from the Brooklyn Bridge to Chelsea Piers, WCBS 880’s Monica Miller reported.

“It’s a challenge and I’m 44 years old and I like to stay young,” he said.

Bafford was joined by dozens of people raising millions of dollars for the Surfers’ Environmental Alliance. The group’s executive director Richard Lee said the route is not all smooth sailing.

“There’s a spot called Hell Gate where many ships sunk and they do get waves and what could be I think a category 2 or 3 rapid almost,” he said.

Those who participated had some encouragement from land as supporters cheered from the decorated SEA Paddle Fan Tour Bus at several waterfront locations along the route.

Lee said most of the money raised this year will go toward programs that help autistic children.

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