The Long Paddle: SUP around Britain

Oceans
Man carries SUP into the ocean
Photo: @thelongpaddle2021

On April 27, Brendon Prince (48) began The Long Paddle, an attempt to become the first person to circumnavigate mainland Britain by stand-up paddleboard. If successful, he will set three records: the first to SUP from Lands End to John O’Groats via the coast, the first to circumnavigate mainland Britain, and the longest ever SUP journey.

He is covering 3,800km on his SUP as he makes his way around Britain. This is not the first time that someone has attempted this challenge. Last year, through no fault of his own, Jordan Wylie had to abort after 149 days and 2,377km. As he made his way around Scotland, Scottish officials informed him that if he continued, he would be in breach of new COVID-19 regulations.

Photo: @thelongpaddle2021

Before setting off, Prince told APP World Tour, “On paper, I can do it in 90 days and if I have good wind.”

Two weeks windbound

Unfortunately, the winds that delayed the start of his paddle have plagued his journey so far. He has lost 14 days lost to weather. This doesn’t include the many times he has paused for hours at a time to let the waves and wind die down. He now estimates that it will take him around 120 days. He expects to be back in Torquay by the end of August.

Prince is being deliberately cautious. One of the reasons for the challenge is to emphasize water safety. He was Head of Outdoor Education at a grammar school for 25 years, teaching open water sports to children. He has also been a lifeguard on the Devon coast for many years. But a particular event inspired his journey.

Photo: @thelongpaddle2021

Five years ago he had to drag three people from the water on the North Cornish coast. Sadly, all lost their lives.

“What made the event so impactful, was that the three people had their whole family on the beach,” Prince said. “To see the catastrophic effect that drowning had on that family changed my life forever. It made me think that what I was doing already wasn’t enough and I wanted to do more to prevent drowning and most importantly educate people.”

1,700km so far

So far he has made his way around South West England, Wales, and North West England. He has traveled just over 1,700km. It took him 44 days to cover the first 1,000km, and 14 days to paddle the Welsh coastline.

On June 19, he reached Scotland. Currently, he is in Kyle of Lochalsh, in the Highlands of North West Scotland. Yesterday was his “most epic paddle to date!” he wrote on social media. “Crazy strong & fast currents, downwind surfing fun, crosswind madness, hundreds of seals, no people anywhere except a yacht that tried to run me down! 46km in one tidal window.”

Photo: @thelongpaddle2021

A land-based team is following him around the UK in a support vehicle as a mobile base camp.

You can follow his journey here.

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About the Author

Rebecca McPhee

Rebecca is a freelance writer and science teacher based in the UK.

She is a keen traveler and has been lucky enough to backpack her way around Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans and aims to dive and open-water swim in as many seas as possible.

Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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