Brighton Paddle Round the Pier Enduro – 20 miles

3rd & 4th July 2010


This was a highlight of my year, and a highlight of a personal achievement to enter such a hardcore endurance event.  For those of you not familiar with PRTP it’s a huge annual surf/watersport event held at Brighton.  It’s a charitable event which this year raised £35k for the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, SurfAid International and Whoopsadaisy.

There were over 40,000 spectators who visited the event which was based right on the seafront.

Saturday saw the main Enduro SUP race.  A beach start by Brighton main pier, paddle up to & just past Worthing Pier, round a marker buoy and back.

It was an early start, clear skies & summer sunshine.  It was time to get some porridge in, drink as much fluids as possible, spend every 5 minutes going to the porterloos, the usual race preparation 🙂

After a safety briefing we all lined up on the beach as soon as possible as the wind was forecast to pick up later in the day.  With nervous anticipation we waited for the goahead, a beach start, run on the cobbles & go, go, go.

Paddle Round the Pier 2010 - Start line

I got off to a nice start, having never paddled this sort of distance I was unsure how much to pace myself so figured the best best was to go as hard as I could as there’s nothing worse than finishing knowing you could have given it more.

The wind was already getting up & was cross/off meaning you literally paddled only on your left hand side.  Some chose a straight line across the bay, other hugged the shore,  I seemed to be somewhere in the middle.  there were a few other paddlers around me, Rich Morton, Adam England, Annabel Anderson.  Rich started to put the power down & soon pulled away at about the 5 mile marker.  Adam & myself stayed close, Adams presence ever looming over my left shoulder.  At about the 7mile mark the winds were dropping slightly and I decided to give it some wellie up to the 10mile turn.  I managed to pull clear of the other paddlers around me & pushed hard.  I could already see a few of the lead guys heading back towards me so I figured the turn was close.  Some great encouragement from the front pack spurred me on even harder, catching and passing a couple of people at the turn.

The wind dropped right off & the sun came out as I made the turn & suddenly it was absolutely baking hot, I had to keep reaching down to splash water over me as I was starting to overheat.  I managed another hard 3miles making up another place.

With about 5 miles to go the wind switched right round to onshore & picked up quickly creating a lot of difficult side chop.  I still had 5miles to go but I was really starting to suffer now.  the pain in my neck & shoulders was immense but I was determined to keep going.  I tried hard to get into the zone & just reach, reach, reach methodically.  Before I knew it I was in sight of the finish, I had a nice line to catch the swell towards the final buoy close to the old pier, then it was a short 70 yard back on yourself to the finishing line.

the hardest part of the race
the hardest part of the race

I could see Ruth my girlfriend waiting on the beach excitedly, I had to negotiate the shore dump without getting nailed in front of the waiting crowds.  I made it and then had the worst bit of the entire 20miles… a sprint up the cobble beach in bare feet… oooooooouuuuuuccccchhhh!

I made it in a respectable 4hrs. The other competitors greeted me with amazing sportsmanship.  we’d all been through the same battles.  Food, water, food, water, stretch, food, water then ensued, in between cheering each competitor that finished.


Finished in more ways then one


Finished… in more ways then one

It was an amazing mental & physical challenge, I said to Ruth after I finished “I’m NEVER doing that again!”… but withing 30 minutes or so I was already thinking, “Actually that was cool, I can’t wait until next year!” 🙂

Results: 10th in class (12’6 stock)

Time:  4:01:20

Official results: