Chris Potter · The Friendship Paddle 2022

This year, The Friendship Paddle is honored to paddle for Chris Potter, a Goleta “Goodland” native and ultimate Gaucho. Chris spent his youth wandering our coastal bluffs, exploring the Santa Barbara backcountry, and surfing local breaks. Chris is keenly attuned to the natural beauty of the outdoors and uses his amazing talent as an artist to showcase it in his paintings. His artwork adorns the walls of restaurants, offices, public spaces, and private homes around the world. His art reflects a life centered on healthy living and being present with nature. It encourages us to slow down and appreciate the landscape around us; to pay more attention to its shapes, light, and colors; and to be mindful of the importance of nature on our well-being.

Chris is a loving husband to wife Julie, a father and friend to his son Malakye (15) and his daughter Zenia (13). In 2021, Chris suddenly fell ill and was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. Since November 1, 2021, Chris has been unable to breathe regularly, due to a large tumor pressing on his lungs and esophagus. Chris has undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments with immunotherapy to follow.

Chris recently shared this with us:

I looked up at the sky and the trees and decided I wanted to live. I wanted to continue my work, I wanted to continue my love for the world and the people around me. In that moment I had a surreal out-of-body experience. I felt all of the connections I have made throughout my life like a great web of energy — all of us supporting each other in our thirst for life and love and connection. This is the meaning of life.

I love all of you. Thank you so much for being a part of my life. I’ll do everything I can to stick around for you.

Over the years, Chris has generously donated his art to support countless local charities, schools, and educational programs. It is our honor to now take the opportunity to support Chris and his family. On September 18, 2022, The Friendship Paddle and our community will cross the Santa Barbara Channel in his honor.

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