Updated: Mar 21
After Jordan Wylie was forced to prematurely end his mission to set the world record just months ago due to Covid-19 restrictions, water safety campaigner, Brendon Prince, thinks he has what it takes to be the first person to paddle board around Great Britain in an effort to raise awareness and £200,000 for water safety.
Titled the Long Paddle 2021, the 48-year-old former teacher is attempting to complete the highly ambitious endeavour in just 90 days, starting on April 24th in South Devon. Brendon will be paddling beach to beach with no boat support in an effort to interact with the general public and spread his message about water safety.
“On paper, I can do it in 90 days and if I have good wind then I can do it, but if i get a couple of storms, I won’t do it, but you have to aim for the stars"
On his voyage around Great Britain, Brendon could be paddling up to 12 hours a day. He is currently in intensive training to ensure that he is prepared both mentally and physically for the epic challenge, paddling up to 3 times a day, often in the dark.
"The journey is too big to focus on the end result, you have to focus on the everyday and try and get excited about bitesize chunks. Right now, I’m just focusing on my everyday training and when I begin I will just focus on each leg of the journey, it is hard to imagine finishing it!”
As an off-duty beach lifeguard, he says his life changed when he tried to rescue - but lost - three souls to drowning on the North Cornish coast 5 years ago. This motivated Brendon to leave his job as an Outdoor Education teacher and dedicate his life to teaching people about water safety.
"5 years ago, I was at the beach and I had to drag three people from the water. As a lifeguard, it is not unusual to witness someone drowning but to lose 3 people is unimaginable. What made the event so impactful, was that the 3 people had their whole family on the beach. 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.”
And he did just that. Brendon set up a water safety charity called Above Water, and is the chairman of a local surf life saving club in Cornwall. He is paddling towards the same goal with this world record attempt as he is aiming to raise £200,000 for the cause.
Brendon is planning to use 50% of donated money to construct a free online interactive tutorial for schools, children and parents on water safety and drowning prevention and will split the remaining 50% to a range of water safety charities, including Above Water, Surf Life Saving GB, RNLI, Surfers Against Sewage, Andy's Man Club, The Wave Project and Christian Surfers.
Prince is not a stranger to being exposed to extreme conditions. He has tested survival clothing in the freezing waters of Iceland, has ice climbed in the Himalayas, Alps & Rockies and Kayaked the massive waters of the Indus. Not to mention he has also been paddling for 12 years and is an experienced open water swimmer and surfer.
Those who have come before him have failed. His predecessor, Jordan Wylie, was forced to terminate his mission 141 days in and in that time encountered storms, sub-zero temperatures and crazy currents. So what makes Brendon different?
“I'm confident in my paddling but it is not about that. One of the strings to my bow is that I have a lot of experience in open water swimming. You have to understand all the factors: the wind, the current and the tide and I have that skill and one of the most exciting things for me is testing that skill.”
It is T-36 days until the expedition begins and we can't wait to see if he has what it takes to achieve what has never been achieved before.