Paddle for Pudsey – report

Posted on 20. Nov, 2011 by in events, news, sessions, video

Ready to go

Thanks very much to all the people who became involved in our Paddle for Pudsey fundraising paddle from Ventnor to Yaverland. It was a great success, raising over £2100 and the paddle itself was a real challenge and very rewarding.

supported by

We have had terrific support from The Spyglass Inn, Earth Wind Water & WightHoodies. The less glamourous job undertaken by our ground crew was outstanding and given the very challenging conditions, we could not have completed the paddle without them. Getting out through those breaking waves in Ventnor Bay was very tricky and a group of us had to go out via the protected harbour. That also proved a test of our stamina, but every one of the 14 paddlers got out on the ocean and we set off for Shanklin. The ground crew also kept pace with our journey, on land, meeting us at Shanklin with very welcome drinks and chocolate. They also managed to collect another couple of hundred pounds in donations. Thanks very much Jasmine, Tony, John, Lisa and the extended family supporters.

they looked smaller from the beach

Promoting an event like this is always a challenge and we were very well supported by Ventnor Blog. The engine room was Aaran at Earth Wind Water, Shanklin, but VB’s commitment to island news and events is excellent. They were joined on the day by another online source, Wightpod. Jeremy has been getting about all summer producing great video vignettes, capturing the essence of island life. He was there with his unique camera style and the result is posted for you to watch.

the harbour option

So, back to the paddle. After spending 100% of our energy getting out through the crazy swell, we set off towards Luccombe Chine. We had been primed by Aaran that this first stretch would be the most challenging given the predicted conditions. It sure was. Our group of 14 paddlers all had good experience on SUP boards. A few also work at WightWater Adventure Watersports with Aaran’s brother and Richard is involved with the RLNI so we had a good range of experience on the water. With SUP being a very accessible sport, it is also very important to respect the ocean and know your capabilities.

objects approaching your camera are bigger than they appear

The swell, even 400-600 metres offshore, was huge, sometimes reaching 4-5 foot. The wind and these swells were coming side on to us, which sorts out those who have balance from those who don’t :). However, once we got into our rhythm, we got on with the hard slog to Luccombe. After about an hour we caught our first glimpse of Culver Cliffs, which was a welcome sight as it meant we could into Sandown Bay and get the wind directly at our backs and most us got to enjoy quite a few downwind glides on these waves that had been making trouble. Before long we were surfing waves into shore to meet the ground team in Shanklin.

fuel stop

Fairly soon we were back out on the water with the surf able waves at Small Hope beach firmly in the sites of the many keen surfers in the group. About half of the group continued with the paddle without being seduced by the surf.

cheeky waves

This is the point at which the the 7 mile paddle got interesting. It is approximately 3.25 miles from Ventnor Harbour to the slipway near the Steamer Inn on Shanklin Esplanade. That is following the course we took, at a distance of about 400 meters from shore.

The group that headed straight for Yaverland, only deviating to go around Sandown Pier, travelled a further 3.5 miles. I have done a little measuring using Google Earth and its ruler tool and I think the surfers will have put in up to a extra mile on the journey. This would be felt by many later.

looks calm from here ... it certainly wasn't

As we continued past Sandown Pier, following the curve of the bay, we became side on to the swell again. So we finished the day as we started it. This ensured most of us took a few more swims before catching our last glide into the beach at Yaverland.

we all felt this way upon finishing

So there we have it, 14 paddlers and tons of support from islanders and afar. What we didn’t expect was the crowd up in the car park applauding our efforts. It gave us the energy we need to get ourselves off the beach up to the cars.

We were in store for another surprise as Fat Harry’s fish and chip shop in Sandown High Street very kindly supplied us with hot chips and sausages and I can’t tell you how appreciated that was. Legends.

sausages and chips

So I am sure there there will be many more photos that have been taken by observers of the event. Please send them into me ( and I will load them up into a gallery. If you can resize them, 640 pixels width is plenty.

Big thanks to Lisa Brown, one of our ground crew, who took nearly all of these photos. See all of them here in Christian’s flickr photo stream.

I have a couple of hours of footage from my GoPro camera, which I have to distill down to a couple of minutes of hopefully interesting stuff and I know a couple of other paddlers had cameras out there too. I will post these as soon as they come to hand.