On 20th March, half the team travelled separately to a launch site near Shoreham Harbour club, roughly half a mile up the river Adur from the harbour mouth.
Of the two teams heading to the Amazon in May 2022, Neil’s gang included Jeff, Giles, Mick and Ant, and JB brought two of his team Russell & Paul.
When we reach the Amazon next year the current plan is for Neil’s team to head off first down the river from the Dorado lake all riding separate boards, with JB’s team following on a day later riding a 10 man board. JB brought the board along… and it was the first time some of us had seen it.
With just three of them riding it, it allowed them all to maintain their distance, though clearly took a damn sight more pumping up than everyone else’s boards.
As we paddled down stream and out through the harbour mouth, we spotted a buoy in the water out to sea and looking eastwards to Brighton. The sea was relatively smooth and the sun was intermittently peaking through the light cloud cover, and it seemed like a reasonable paddle for what was for some, just our 4th outing.
When we reached the buoy and regrouped Neil announced, “right, let’s head to the i360 and get as far as we can by half 12”. Many of us thought he was joking… though after paddling for a couple of miles or so we realised he most definitely wasn’t.
The team got spread a little as everyone found a pace that felt comfortable and it was great to see that we all made it just short of the target we’d set. We circled the boards and had a light snack, and drinks break before setting off back towards Shoreham.
We were a couple of hours in by this time and the conditions were starting to change with a light breeze moving in from the South West and the sea beginning to get a little more choppy.
As Jeff, Giles and Mick set out, those of us following behind spotted a pod of 3 baby dolphins breaching the surface and following them. It was a fabulous sight to behold.
With the sea being still quite cold this time of year, all bar one of us had worn a wetsuit. Neil opted for a set of cargo shorts and a long sleeved rash vest. Whilst persevering with standing up, the choppy water got the better of Giles and Ant a couple of times with howls of laughter from the rest of the crew when they fell in, but with the wetsuits on, neither of them really minded taking the plunge.
As we neared the harbour mouth the majority of those on single boards were paddling on their knees, apart from Neil who seemed determined to make it back on his feet, and just as he neared the buoy a wave took him out too! At that point we reckon anyone of us could have charged him double what our winter suits were worth ;-).
We all made it back safely and after a 7 to 8 mile round trip with much of it against the wind and in choppy conditions we all agreed it was a great work out.
Another great training session and on this occasion the lessons learnt were mostly around kit choice for the conditions at hand.
The team are starting to get to know each other, and it’ll be great to meet more socially when the madness allows. Here’s a few pics from the session, including one of the dolphins, enjoy 🙂