Coasting through California on skateboards

Cousins Mason Bennett and Kenton Durfee are skateboarders on a mission.

Bennett, 23, from North Salt Lake City, and Durfee, 23, from Mesa, Ariz., are nearing the end of a 650-mile skateboarding trip along the California coast to raise money for the nonprofit Bridge of Love, which raises money for abandoned and orphaned children in Romania.

The two started on longboard skateboards in Santa Rosa on April 29 and were set to be in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach on Wednesday. They hope to reach San Diego by Saturday so Bennett can return to Utah to prepare for his wedding.

Bennett got the idea to ride longboards for a cause a year ago.

"We both love to longboard," Bennett said.

Durfee taught Bennett to longboard when they both were 14.

"I called Kenton up and he said he would do it," Bennett said.

Bennett was a missionary in Romania for two years and saw the struggles faced by abandoned and orphaned children there, including the lack of education.

"I loved the experience and loved the people," Bennett said. "I saw [that the orphanage there] was understaffed. It was a sad situation."

Benton and Durfee have raised $6,000 for one tutor for a full year and are trying to raise additional money for a second tutor through Bridge of Love.

The tutor is based in Barlad, a city in eastern Romania, said Laurie Lundberg, who started Bridge of Love with her husband Scott.

"It's such a blessing to have the help," Lundberg said about Benton and Durfee. "[The children] got a bad deal. [Education] will help them get out from the cycle their lives would have had."

Bridge of Love has social workers stationed in Romania who work with the children, Lundberg said.

Bennett and Durfee chose California because of the weather.

"Both Utah and Arizona are hot this time of year and we heard Highway 1 had a great bike trail," Bennett said.

People have been kind to the two, allowing them to sleep in their backyards and giving donations while they are on the course, Bennett said.

Durfee's family met the men in Oxnard and took them to dinner, according to the cousins' website about the project,

The waitress donated to the cause, the website said.

On occasion Bennett and Durfee have slept in campsites.

The two men sustain themselves on granola bars and dehydrated food. Beans reconstituted with water is a typical meal.

The cousins also have taken breaks for academic reasons.

Durfee has stopped at libraries to turn in assignments for his online class at Brigham Young University's Idaho campus, said Bennett, a student at BYU's main campus in Provo, Utah.

Bennett and Dursee average 20 to 50 miles per day on their skateboards.

Most days they ride with backpacks that hold clothes, food, water and fold-up tents, which can weigh 45 pounds, Durfee said. Family members have occasionally taken their backpacks so Bennett and Durfee can move faster.

"It's a lot of fun," Bennett said. "It's hard some days with big hills. It's an adventure, and I'm learning a lot."

For more information on Bridge of Love, go to

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