Last October, one of my closest friends was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. He’s always been “the fittest mate” in our group of friends - an active member of one of the top triathlon clubs in the country, competing in several Ironman events, and his commitment to the grueling training has been an inspiration to all of our respective personal challenges.
I’m sure there were some very difficult times, but he handled the crushing diagnosis with a typical hard-headed and positive attitude to getting better, and I’m very pleased to say, surrounded by a tight support network of family, friends, and the cancer charity Macmillan, he’s been given the all clear.
I took up Stand Up paddle boarding (SUP) on the Thames around a year ago, with James Roorda at Epic SUP Twickenham. Initially, not being knocked in by the wake of the “Merrie Thames” and making it either to Richmond Bridge or Teddington Lock were my goals, but last October, given the circumstances, and a conversation about Laird Hamilton’s Vanguard Channel crossing, I decided to take things a little more seriously. I told James about my plans, and he was immediately keen to accompany me on the 21 Nautical Mile (39km/24mile) paddle, So this August (we will pick the best forecasted conditions between 1st - 5th) we’ll be setting off in search of France on our Paddleboards. We're really just trying to complete this, but hope to do it within 8 hours.
The channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world and the French authorities made it illegal to cross the their shipping lane in anything human powered - So it was essential to hire a safety boat.
The plan is to cross between Dungeness and Boulogne which is 26 Nautical miles - the boat will carry us for the five miles in the middle and then we’re put back in again so we still paddle the full 21 Nautical Mile (39km/24mile) distance.
Please spare a few pounds to help out this fantastic charity