The Flatwater Challenge on Lake Tahoe raises over $170,000 for families dealing with cancer. | Tahoe SUP

The Flatwater Foundation, based in Austin Texas is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing those facing a cancer diagnosis, their families and loved ones, with access to mental health therapy and family support. Including access to both traditional and non-traditional methods of psychological counseling.

Founded in 2010 by Mark Garza, to fill the void for a process that would provide families in need with financial assistance to access long-term help, the Flatwater Foundation has made a difference in many lives. He organized the first event, the annual Dam That Cancer. A 21 mile stand up paddle on a stretch of Lake Austin and raised over $32,000 for the cause. This years Dam That Cancer tipped the scales at over $600,000!

The foundation has begun to branch out across the country and in mid September organized the first Flatwater Challenge.  20 paddlers embarked on a 71 mile, 4 day paddle around Lake Tahoe that raised over $170,000 with proceeds also going to local children’s cancer organizations in Nevada.

No Easy Feat

The circumnavigation of Lake Tahoe is known to only been accomplished a handful of times.  And for good reason.  The Alpine conditions on the 6,200 ft elevation lake are notoriously tricky.  Strong prevailing afternoon winds pop up out of nowhere, morning temps in the 30’s and summertime water temps only hitting the 60’s can weaken any resolve.

The days were broken up into a 21 mile day 1, 18 miles on day 2, 22 miles on day 3 and 10 miles on the final day. A huge congratulations goes out the entire crew of paddlers who made the trip from Austin, Texas and we look forward to supporting the Flatwater Foundation and the amazing work they do!

The Flatwater Foundation’s Goals

  • Provide mental health services via licensed providers for those that would not otherwise have access.
  • Raise awareness of the importance of mental health and the challenges that exist when a cancer diagnosis is introduced into a family or tight community.
  • Break the stigma associated with asking for and receiving mental health support.
  • Encourage participation in exercise and outdoor activities as a means of providing balance and mental well-being.
  • Create fun and effective fundraising opportunities that unite communities and promote the values of The Foundation.


Start typing and press Enter to search