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Do you like to paddleboard? So do we! But could you paddle for hours and hours on end into the wind, with the tide curious whales, dolphins and seals, day in and day out?
That’s exactly what Brendon Price did when he set off to circumnavigate Britain on a paddleboard, whilst also breaking the record to become the first person ever to paddle from Lands End to John O’Groats.
What is the Long Paddle?
This is a unique challenge Brendon Prince undertook to break the official world record attempt to circumnavigate mainland Britain by Stand Up Paddle Board. By being the first to ever complete this challenge, Brendon also completes the world record for longest ever journey by SUP. The journey is also aimed at creating the worlds first gamified, interactive water safety app.
A savvy chat…
A whopping 93 days into trying to circumnavigate Britain Brendon was kind enough to put his paddle down to catch up with us for a special edition of our savvy navvy boating app podcast, The Boating Life.
Brendon commented, “You need some fairly massive motivation to try and do something like this. I’m aiming to promote water safety and drowning prevention on an island nation, it's quite a difficult thing to do but by trying to do a big thing, like circumnavigate Britain, you get people to listen.
By trying to set world records, they really do stand up and listen and promote what you're doing and this helps us get our message out to all different walks of life.”
How much work has gone into the paddleboarding challenge?
Well, first of all, I talk about the team. You can't do this sort of thing on your own, so I've got a land-based support crew. I'm on the water on my own the whole time, but I've got land-based support that I can call on at any point to just meet me and give me drinks they also sort out my food and all the logistics and the daily organisation of an expedition.
The other side of the team is on the phones answering calls and promoting what we're doing and obviously the social media element to it. They spend hours promoting what we’re doing and they really do a fantastic job.
Then of course there is me, out on the water on my own. What have I done to prepare for this? There is my knowledge of the water from the past 35 years, on top of that I spent about 6 months of physical training prior to getting here;
I'm just a cork, you know, floating around out there really susceptible to the winds and the tides and big boats and everything else that wants to finish me off, including the Orcas! Everything that I've leant in my experience as a waterman has gotten me to this point.
Some of the paddlers that I've done just in the last couple of weeks, you know, I wouldn't have been able to do 20 years ago, 10 years ago.
What are the key messages you're trying to get across as you complete this challenge?
There are a few key messages. We're a maritime nation with such history and we kind of take it for granted.
I was taught water safety and drowning prevention from an early age at school, it was in our national curriculum. Unfortunately, teachers were never trained to teach it. So lots of teachers stand back from it. Because I go into hundreds, almost thousands of schools teaching water safety, I see it firsthand.
So we are trying to promote an ambition to create the world's first gamified water safety app because we're looking at it from the 21st century.
What do you hope to change?
My hope is to give the 21,000 schools in this country the app for free so they can use the app in a format where they put aside an hour in the classroom to use it. This is where most schools don't do it.
80% of water safety and water knowledge and understanding can be taught in the classroom, setting aside an hour, maybe an hour and a half a year annually where they can play the game.
It costs a pound to play the game. So that reinvents what we're trying to do and keeps it fresh because we get the money coming in to be able to add more beaches. So we know your local beach, your local waterway, we can actually gamify that waterway and they can play their local beach or their local waterway.
So they know where the water's flowing in that river and what’s dangerous, or they know where the rip is on their local beach. So in five years time, we could have a thousand waterways in Britain they can play. That would revolutionise our understanding of the basic elements.
None of this is rocket science. I'm not reinventing the wheel, but I'm just putting it in a gamified situation and no one else has ever done for lots of different reasons, but it can be done. We have got the technology, we just need the money raised from this particular venture to put together the quarter of a million that we need for these things to go ahead.
What made you start that association with the savvy navvy boating app?
I'm from an old school background where I use the charts and look at everything with the compass, but it’s very time consuming and takes up a lot of space. But you need apps, that's the way forward, especially on an expedition front where space is limited.
I trailed through the many apps that are out there in search of the lots of different elements that you need to consider as a paddleboarder. savvy navvy was really the most obvious one that actually had most of what I wanted.
It’s good to have one app that I can trust, that makes sense and is easy to use - all the things I need to quickly check. There are so many elements to factor in, with savvy navvy especially the wind and tide are fantastic.
What sort of challenges have you been up against this summer?
I've had everything thrown at me.
Absolutely everything, winds and the tides and the heat as well as thunderstorms, huge rainstorms. You know, we live on an island, which over the course of three to four months, you're going to experience absolutely everything.
Only yesterday, I was paddling across Aberdeen Harbor. So Aberdeen's big Harbor. Big Harbor entrance, lots of flow, water flow, lots of swell related to that flow and all of a sudden a pilot whales fin came up in front of me.
Now, this thing is five, six-foot across just the fin and I'm thinking - did I actually just happen? Then either side I see two dolphins throwing themselves into the air, I mean, literally as far as they could flick themselves 10, 15 feet into the air and then just fall in, and this is happening in front of me. I might add this is all happening as I'm trying to negotiate the busy shipping channel to get across a Harbor entrance.
Every day for the last six weeks I've seen plenty of whales, as you can imagine, but also a plethora of different types of dolphins swimming either around me, swimming to come and say hello and then disappearing. A week ago I was followed by 200 seals that followed me for about 10 miles. Just were fascinated by what I was doing.
I mean every day is a new day.”
savvy navvy now supports Paddleboards within the app, just change the vessel type to what activity you are doing, choose from sailing, motorboat, catamaran, kayak, jetski and of course paddle boarding - find out more - savvy navvy paddleboard app
Listen to the last Episode - Boating Life Water Safety with the RNLI
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