After being beaten by the weather in 2010 and earlier in 2011 four hardy surfers finally completed the 23 miles from Dover to Cap de Griz on Tuesday 26th July, and raised getting on for £3000 for the charity Surf Relief UK, one of the country's leading surfing charity. This is the first time a number of individuals have completed a cross channel paddle for charity in teams of two.
The paddlers set off from Dover's Shakespeare beach at around 8.41am, and finally arrived on the French beach at 2.04pm ( UK time ) a very quick time of 5hrs and 23minutes. They just had time for a very quick drink at one of the restaurants surrounding the beach, before paddling back out to their waiting support boat and being whisked back to the UK.
The sea state on the day was described as 'slight' but still plenty choppy enough to make paddling ( only using their arms ) pretty tiring, particularly for their shoulders and backs. The 100% cloud cover gave the paddlers a bit of respite from the sun, which was very much appreciated.
A number of very large ships passed by on this epic journey, but in the good hands of the skipper of the support boat the 'Sarah Ray' with all its radar technology, we were in safe hands. The team crossed, by working in pairs with 45 minutes on, and then 45 mins off as the number of boards permitted were restricted to two.
One of the Paddlers, Phil Williams from Nailsea, nr Bristol commented "The 1st two legs started out well, but by the time I was half way through the third leg, in the middle of the deepest part of the channel, it became quite choppy, and my back and arms really began to ache. It was an amazing experience finally paddling on to the French beach, and quite amusing to see the re-action from the local tourists ! It was a fantastic experience, with a fantastic team of back up support, stoked we made it and raised some good funds for the charity 'Surf Relief UK'.
The paddlers were provided with specialized Australian Bennett Paddle Boards kindly donated by Aqua Sport International and had the backing of a number of sponsors
including Big Blue Surf School, Thanet Leisure Force, Christian Surfers UK, Orbit and Woody's Surf Ammunition.
A huge thanks to the support crew including John (The support boats skipper), Toby Dad
for linking us up with everyone, Mikey Hawker (Video from Wave Dreamer, and Manu Palomeque for his photography and videoing the event (Pepper Films Ltd)
The Paddlers who took part were:
David Manley - Chairman Surf Relief UK,
46 years old from Devon
Toby Young - Surf Instructor 24 years old
Nick Thorn - A Surf school owner and internationally renowned long distance paddler.
Phil Williams – Trustee and founder member of Surf Relief UK, and National Director of Christian Surfers UK
The aim of the paddle was to raise £5000 for the Charity's Surfable project, and whilst short of that target at the moment, with nearer £3000 raised, there is still the opportunity to donate by clicking here