SUP Around UK: 2,800Km Down, 1,000Km to Go

Brendon Prince has been stand-up paddle boarding his way around mainland Britain since April 27. If successful, he will cover 3,800km and become the first person to complete the entire route on an SUP.

Prince has hit multiple milestones on his self-imposed challenge. On July 19, he made it to John O’Groats, Scotland. Although Lands End to John O’Groats is a well-trodden route for runners, hikers and cyclists, it is rare in the world of watersports. Prince is the only person known to have completed the iconic British route on a SUP.

Photo: @thelongpaddle2021


46 days around Scotland

Shortly after this, on August 3, he hit his next milestone, a circumnavigation of the Scottish coastline and crossing the border back into England. This section took him 46 days.

This also marked the 2,800km point of the journey and signaled the final 1,000km. It also meant he broke the record for the longest journey on an SUP. Previously this was held by Shilpika Gautam, who paddled the 2,641km length of the Ganges River.

Along the Scottish coastline, he saw “seals, dolphins, massive jellies, minke whales, killer whales, otters, eagles, stags, cliff-loving goats, basking sharks, and a very curious porbeagle shark”. The wildlife has also given clues to the weather.

“Birds will always take off into the wind so you can see what the wind is doing a mile ahead,” he said. “Jellyfish always swim sideways to the current.”

Over the last month, tumultuous weather in the UK has disrupted much of his journey. “The wind can really play havoc with your paddle plans,” he said recently.

From 11km to 76km per day

Because of this, his daily distance varies significantly. On bad weather days, he often has to call off paddling completely. His shortest day so far has been 11km. In good weather, he tries to make up for lost time. On July 13, he paddled an incredible 76.5km in one day, as he made his way past Cape Wrath.

Photo: @thelongpaddle2021


His route around Scotland has been particularly difficult because of the tidal flows. He told the BBC, “In Scotland, you can have four high and four low tides in one day.  It basically means eight hours of chaos in every 24 hours.”

He described himself as a “feather on the water” because of the huge impact that wind and moving water have on him. But after months at sea, he is now used to it.

“I’m a very different paddler to what I was three months ago,” he said.

He is now making his way around North East England and still hopes that he will finish the full journey in 120 to 125 days. You can track his journey here.

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 parts of Africa, South America, and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything to do with the oceans. Her areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.

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Dave @ Accidental FIRE
9 months ago

Wow, this i an incredible feat, even if he doesn’t finish. I imagine some of those waters are pretty tough for a SUP!

9 months ago

Where does he sleep at night? In a tent or hostelry?
Is he using a baggage transport service from dawn till dusk?
My questions are not a criticism: I would be interested to know.