As part of our ongoing mission to be a vehicle for positive change, we regularly support charities and get actively involved in causes we feel are in alignment with our goals.
An exciting and worthy endeavour that recently caught our eye is that of The Long Paddle – an attempt by a former Devon school teacher to circumnavigate mainland Britain on a SUP (Stand-Up Paddle Board). Its aim: to raise awareness of water safety, men’s health and our marine environment. Seeing as Krystal was born in Devon too, we decided it was just the right sort of adventure for us to get behind.
A life dedicated to water safety
The Long Paddle is the brainchild of Brendon Prince, a 48-year-old former Head of Outdoor & Physical Education at a South Devon school; in fact, the very same school that our CEO and Founder, Simon Blackler attended many moons ago.
Brendon was working as an off-duty beach lifeguard when his life was changed forever during a rescue operation off the North Cornish coast. A tragic multiple drowning moved him to devote his time to training UK teachers & pupils in water safety. He is now the chairman of a Surf Life Saving Club in Devon and founder of the charity Above Water, visiting hundreds of schools and communities and teaching over 100,000 children water safety and drowning prevention.
Standing up for a worthy cause
As well as raising awareness of water safety, Brendon hopes to use The Long Paddle to promote the benefits of physical activity, mindfulness & friendship on the water for men’s health, and to encourage mindfulness of the impact we have on our oceans.
As Brendon says, “As an island nation I believe we should be doing so much more to teach water safety to all. It is imperative that people know the risks to then enjoy all that the ocean and our inland waterways have to offer.”
Krystal and Katapult have both stood up to be counted amongst those who support Brendon on his mission to promote water safety, health and ecological awareness. We’re sponsoring the East and South East England regions of his incredible (and long!) journey.
Our sponsorship, alongside that of Brendon’s other generous sponsors, will also help him create what he hopes will be The Long Paddle’s legacy – the world's first gamified, interactive water safety app. Featuring essential water safety and drowning prevention information for both coastal and inland waterways, it will help both children and adults learn more about how to keep safe in the water.
A world-beating adventure
Upon completion of this incredible challenge, Brendon will be the first human to SUP paddle the coast of mainland Britain, and will set the world record for longest ever journey by SUP! Travelling by SUP around mainland Britain has been attempted before but never completed. Brendon is hoping to be the first to complete this world record as well as be the first person, and fastest, to paddle from Lands End to John O’ Groats via the coast.
Since setting off from Torbay on April 27, Brendon has battled huge headwinds and massive tidal flows, tackled 10-foot swells and endured exhausting 12-hour paddle sessions in tough conditions. He’s paddled through the Menai Straits and across the Bristol Channel, been welcomed into Wales by a pod of dolphins and come face to face with a Basking Shark at the top of Cardigan Bay. He powered his way around 538km of Welsh coast in just 14 days, and had seals escort him over the River Dee and back into England.
You can see how Brendon is getting on by checking out the tracking map on the Long Paddle website.
Through the generous donations of the public, Brendon is also supporting seven charities close to his heart: Above Water, Surfers Against Sewage, The RNLI, Christian Surfers, Andys Man Club, Surf Life Saving GB, and Wave Project.
Here at Krystal and Katapult we’ve been blown away by Brendon’s grit, determination and huge public spirit, and are thrilled to be able to support him on his incredible journey and world record attempts. His passion for making a positive change aligns perfectly with both our Creed and environmental initiatives. We’ll be keeping a close watch on Brendon’s progress over the coming weeks, and wish him all the best for the challenge ahead - good luck Brendon!