British adventurer in bid to be the first person to Stand-Up Paddleboard around Great Britain
From rookie to record breaker: After stand-up paddling for just 3 months, Jordan Wylie is attempting to set the world record of being the first person to paddle around Great Britain in aid of Frontline Children.
Jordan Wylie, an extreme adventurer from the North West of the UK, is well on his way to becoming the first person to Stand-Up Paddle-board around Great Britain. Currently on Day 127 of his monstrous expedition which began on the 26th July in Essex, Jordan has paddled over 2,000 kilometres and raised £20,000. He has now reached the brutal waters of the West Coast of Scotland with 1,500 kilometres to go and £80,000 off his fundraising target.
"I didn't think I'd still be paddling deep into the winter. When I started, I thought it would take 100 days and if I could paddle consecutively every day that would be realistic, but it doesn't matter how fast I want to paddle, it's mother nature that decides what I can do and when I can do it.”
This is a feat that has been attempted previously in recent years, but to date no person has been successful in achieving this highly ambitious endeavour, due to the extreme physical and psychological barriers, combined with the relentless and unpredictable British weather system all year round.
As winter draws in, the daily paddle window is shrinking. Where Jordan would paddle up to 18 hours a day in summer, some days he can only get on the water for 30 minutes making it clear that he is at mother nature’s complete mercy.
“If the wind and the tide is against you, there's just no point paddling because you only go one way and that's backwards. We have just got to keep chipping away. Life is challenging for everybody right now and I feel grateful still to be able to have an adventure, even though it is ridiculously extreme conditions at the moment.”
It isn’t just the cruel conditions that are impeding Jordan’s world record attempt. Due to restrictions entwined with Covid-19, marinas are often closed, limiting where they can stop and rest and replenish their food supplies.
“Getting replacements of fresh food is almost impossible because most of the marinas are closed, which can be difficult because I am burning up to 10,000 calories per day and need to replace it.”
Thankfully, Jordan is not a stranger to discomfort. He has successfully completed numerous major charity expeditions, including becoming the first person in history to row unsupported across the most dangerous strait of water on the planet (Bab el Mandeb Straits) between the Horn of Africa and Yemen. On top of this, he has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain, completely barefoot, but he confesses that this is the hardest challenge he has done yet.
“This is definitely the hardest expedition by a long way. Take an ultramarathon for example, you are done within a week or so, but this has gone on for 127 days. We're four months in of paddling daily and we're only just over halfway. We're going into winter and we're not even at the top of Scotland yet."
But this gruelling challenge is not without an excellent cause. Jordan is raising money for Frontline Children; a charity which works to inspire hope through education for children who live in conflict areas. With the money Jordan raises, the charity will build schools, fund scholarships and supply teaching resources for children who need it most. Jordan is risking his life to reach his £100,000 fundraising target which you can donate to here.
“It's not really about making the world record. Records are great for the media but for me, it's about setting out to complete our charitable objective. The most important thing is why we're doing it. If we get to the end, amazing. If we break some records, amazing. But if we can build a school and inspire a generation, that's priceless.”
Jordan’s unbelievable resilience towards paddling through some of the harshest conditions imaginable is made even more impressive by the fact that he had only Stand-Up Paddled for 3 months before setting off on his SUP odyssey. Jordan connected with APP’s very own Ginnie Betts and Marie Buchanan and took a course with the Water Skills Acadmey to prepare him for the expedition. Regardless of his efforts, many around him warned him that the amount of experience he had could not measure up with the colossal challenge ahead, his toughest critic being the local harbourmaster in West Scotland.
“People still tell me, even though I've been paddling for 2,000 kilometres, that I won't get around the North West chunk of Scotland. The harbourmaster wrote me off quickly and said fishermen don't even go around there in boats never mind on a paddleboard.”
“I’ve been paddling for about three months, and certainly not in the conditions that I'm facing now, but I'm a big believer that if you are committed to something and you are prepared to work for it, you can achieve anything you want in this world.”
Jordan has paddled through darkness, storms and arctic temperatures, but he soldiers on with 1,500 kilometres to go and £80,000 more to raise. You can follow his journey here and on his instagram account @mrjordanwylie.