Paddleboarder Makes History for Charity

A sea safety campaigner from Torquay, Devon, has made history by becoming the first person to paddleboard along the coast from Land’s End to John O’Groats.


Brendan Prince, 48, set off from his hometown on 27 April to embark on a 3,800 mile (6,115km) journey around mainland Britain on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) for charity.


The father of three was an off-duty lifeguard at Mawgan Porth beach in North Cornwall in October 2014 when three people drowned. He pulled two people from the water but was unable to save their lives. Seeing the impact on the victims’ families drove Brendan to set up the Above Water Charity, which teaches children about safety in the water.


He decided to take on the paddleboarding challenge, known as “The Long Paddle” to continue highlighting water safety awareness, with the goal of raising £200,000 for the Above Water charity. The money will be used to develop an app which teaches children and teenagers about water safety and drowning prevention.


The start of his journey from Torquay was delayed by high winds, but he soon went on his way. His travels to Darmouth took five times longer than expected, due to poor weather and wind conditions. As he continued his journey around the Devon and Cornish coast, the weather and visibility remained poor, making Brendan take forced rest days as he waited for the weather to clear up. During his paddle across the Bristol Channel, he again was forced to take a standstill for hours due to the tide.


The weather as a whole scuppered Mr Prince’s plans to complete the entire paddleboarding trip in 90 days. However, this has not fazed him. Brendan continued to paddle alongside the Scottish coast and on July 19 reached his largest milestone yet, arriving at John O’Groats in Scotland.


This made him the first person to circumnavigate the coast of Britain on a stand-up paddleboard. His journey from Land’s End to John O’Groats took seventy-four days and twelve hours in total.


On arriving at John O’Groats, he said he was “elated” to have reached such a significant milestone.


He said, “It’s taken 74 days to come from Land’s End to John O’Groats going clockwise and I hope I can complete the trip around mainland Britain in the next 40 days.”

“I always knew we would have to have the weather on our side the whole time to get it done in 90 days. We’re on target for 120 to 125 days and once we get round John O’Groats the hardest bit on paper is done.” 

I’ve got better tidal flows, better weather and it’s more consistent.”

You can keep up to date with Brendan’s progress here.