Me and fundraising ideas

A little about me

I’m in my mid-forties, a husband, a father of 3, a business owner of a relatively successful environmental consultancy and a kayaker. I have been paddling for about 8 or 9 years now, I first got into a kayaking as I needed a hobby which would be safer than rock-climbing (which I was into at that time) but would still ‘push’ me. The idea was to learn the skills to enable me to take the kids on canoe-camping trips, and who knows I may do one day! So I joined a club, got involved and learnt whitewater kayaking and got the whitewater bug! I then tried my hand at kayak surfing and fell in love with that too! Since I’ve been kayaking I’ve been lucky enough to kayak on the rivers of the Southwest, Wales, Cumbria and the Massif Central (France) as well as the surf kayaking in Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and west France. I’ve passed my UK Level 1 coaching qualification and consider myself a competent river and surf kayaker. However, my sea kayaking experience is limited to trips out to the surf break in a surf-specific craft or short trips in river kayaks.
I used to look at sea kayaking and think how hard could it be?, but after my first two trips out in a sea kayak I quickly realised there was a lot more to it than I had realised. On my first training sessions I went out in relatively roughish weather (but not extreme at all), I had my boat swept from underneath me by a surging sea, was blown over by a side gust of wind  and then just about managed to make a very short crossing with a slight following sea, scared that I would be blown over again in deep water! I have been out a few more times now, getting to grips with the specific techniques and becoming more experienced and hopefully a little safer! I am being helped in my development by two very competent coaches, Joanne Sidwell and Darren Sherwood. They are helping me along the road, teaching me skills and giving me experience of different types of trips and in different weather conditions.

Fundraising Events and Ideas

I have organised Exmoor Canoe Canoe Club’s Blaze the Barle river race for the last 6 years, which has been very successful. In the last race (2015) half of the money raised by entrant fees went to the Crohn’s MAP Vaccine cause. This year I intend to raise lots more money from entering and completing different and difficult sea kayaking challenges. I hope to complete a range of different sea kayaking challenges this year, including a race, a circumnavigation and a open water crossing and a multi-day expedition. The challenges I hope to undertake in 2016 are as follows:
  • A circumnavigation – Isle of Wight (around the isle in one day)
    • A circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight is a challenging 95-100 kilometer paddle which some paddlers can complete in one day, however most do  it in 2-3 days! I intend to complete the trip in one go, taking hopefully 12-15 hours. Involves open crossings, overfalls and sea races, complicated tides and lots of other water traffic.
  • An open water crossing – Lundy (from the mainland and back)
    • Crossing from the Devon mainland to the isle of Lundy is a committing 30+ kilometer crossing into the Atlantic, with big swells and fast tides. An interesting variation seems to be to cross to Lundy, land and grab a pint at the Marisco Tavern, then paddle back, in one trip!
  • An expedition – Lands End to Watchet (self-supported in 7 days)
    • To complete the year of challenges I plan to complete a mini-expedition, self-supported, kayaking from Lands End (Sennen Cove) up the north coast of Cornwall and Devon to my local port of Watchet in Somerset – this should be a great end to a full year of fundraising. To do this I would need to keep an average of 40km a day, in an area of technical sea paddling and changeable weather – will be hard going keeping up the rate, but worth it I hope!
And I plan to do all these challenges in 2016 – which with my current level of skills and fitness will take some doing, but I guess that is the point, so please get behind the idea, Like, Share and Donate!