Back in the day

It’s always exciting to be part of any movement whether thats a sport or challenge or something different all together.

My first SUP experiences were in 2007 in Greece, and the sport encapsulated my passions for Rowing, windsurfing and the water almost straight away. Quickly it grew from my way to commuting to work each day to a sport I dedicated my time to.

recently while talking to a group about how they got into the sport I was reminded of a challenge myself and a group of friends took on to paddle 100miles in 24hours for the charity Sail4Cancer.

Here is the original story circa 2008.

The Neilson Team at Lesvos are at it again…!

Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

Last year it was a ‘Channel Swim’ challenge, complete with all the traditional rules and in competition against their sister resort in Lemnos. This year the guys in Lesvos have raised the bar and are going for it with the latest craze in watersports, doing a sponsored 24 hours Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) challenge. A what?

Team member Sam Ross explains; “Stand up paddle boarding is a sport which at the moment is exploding in the UK. It is a form of surfing which has the rider standing on a surfing longboard with a paddle. This allows the surfer to catch smaller waves, but also more often just adds another way and dimension of enjoying your time on the water. It is also popular in places where there are no waves as many people will go for a paddle for fitness or just to explore the coastline. At the moment it is one of the fastest growing sports in the UK and among many people who are looking for a way to enjoy the water when the wind isn’t up.”

The Lesvos team, made up of Sam, Mike ‘Big Z’ Hayhurst, Frazer Leckey and Liam Hutchinson, will paddle one at a time attempting to have a total combined time of 24 hours. Each member of the team will paddle for 2 hours before swapping with their team mate. The challenge will take place through the night and run continuously from 7pm on the 17th of August till 7pm on the 18th of August. The event will be supported by a combined team of Guests and staff who will kayak for short time periods alongside the SUP team offering safety and support.

Having already held a charity auction and several game shows this season, these enthusiastic fundraisers have now commenced training for their SUP challenge. Sam continues: “As we endeavour to set targets for the distance to be covered so the challenge as a concept keeps growing.” Keep watching this space for new rules, regulations and requirements.

In the meantime you can offer your messages of support and sponsor the team using the form below:


Lesvos 24 Hour SUP event – the results…!

Frazer, Liam, Mike and Sam. Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

Frazer, Liam, Mike and Sam. Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

Earlier in the season, the Neilson team at Lesvos decided to undertake a challenge to raise money for Sail 4 Cancer, namely to paddle a stand up paddleboard (SUP) for 24 hours. As predicted, however, the challenge grew and by the time it took place on 17th/18th August, the aim was to paddle for 24 hours AND to achieve a distance of 100 miles!

Team member and paddler extraordinaire Sam Ross relates how they got on:

‘The challenge went really well in the end. We had great conditions through the night with no wind, a cloudless sky and a full moon.

Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

Photo courtesy of Jill Butterworth

As day broke the wind stayed light, meaning that we pushed on well to our target of 100 miles in 24 hours. By lunch time the temperature was up to almost 40 degrees and the wind started to pick up.

After lunch there was quite a bit of swell along with a head wind on one leg of the course causing the speeds to drop down and the 100 mile goal looked in danger of slipping away.

However as we entered the final few hours, whilst there was still a little swell, the conditions became faster and faster allowing us to achieve a final distance of 102.5 miles in 24 hours.

The guests and staff in resort have been really supportive. We had people paddling in kayaks throughout the night and the following day offering support and supplies.

I’d like to add a massive thank you to everyone that has taken part and supported us. Through all this support we have managed to reach a total to date of an amazing 850 euros.’

In addition Sail 4 Cancer would like to thank Sam, Mike, Frazer and Liam for their commitment – and their originality! What an achievement!


It’s interesting looking back and seeing the way I used to describe the sport but also realising that this event gave me my first downwinder and experience of really pushing myself on an SUP.

Whilst this wasn’t the beginning it certainly wasn’t the last, here’s to 2013!