On 27th May, a small passion of paddleboarders (do you like our new collective noun for paddleboarders?) will set off from Gloucester Docks on a 24 hour paddle along the Sharpness Canal. Paddling through dark the wee hours of the night is not everyone’s idea of fun. And probably isn’t their idea of fun either – in fact they’re only doing it to raise money for charity, not to have a 24 hour board party!
It’s a well known fact that the more tired you are, the more your balance is affected, and the more likely you are to take a tumble into the water. Which might be fun when the sun’s shining in the middle of a balmy summer’s day. But it most certainly isn’t fun at 3am, on a cold, damp, drizzly May weekend. So Alex Kell and his merry band of martyrs are hoping that the weather will be a little better. And that they don’t get so tired that they fall off, and get cold and grumpy at 3am.
So at 3pm on the 27th May, they’ll set off from Gloucester Docks, home of SUP Gloucester, paddling on the Sharpness canal toward Sharpness. At some point, less than 12 hours in to the paddle, they will turn around, and head back towards Gloucester Docks. There’s high hopes of reaching Sharpness itself, but the challenge is staying awake for 24 hours on a SUP, rather than achieving a distance. And ending up back in Gloucester Docks at 15:00 on Sunday 28th is the critical component, to arrive at the height of the Gloucester Tall Ships Festival 2017.
And somewhere between Sharpness and Gloucester, the passion of paddleboarders will pick up some less committed stragglers, ostensibly joining in to support the closing stages of the paddle, but really just looking for an excuse to paddle close to tall ships. Let’s be honest, if we were really looking to support them, we’d all be there through the darkest hours of the night, helping to keep morale up and keep them awake and humorous.
If you’re interested in joining Alex et al for some, or all of the paddle, contact him on twitter or facebook. If you’d like to take part for all or some of the paddle, but haven’t got a board, try talking to Kev at SUP Gloucester, or give McConks a call.
The paddle is to celebrate 25 years of St. James’s Place Foundation and 25 years of The Pied Piper Appeal, both awesome UK charities that make a huge difference to kids that need our support. So please come along and join Alex and crew, or, if you can’t make, please donate generously.