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Duo paddle around the island in a morning

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A CIRCUMNAVIGATION of Guernsey has been completed by stand-up paddleboarders Fred O’Nillon and Alex Fuller.

Paddleboarders Alex Fuller and Fred O'Nillon (22147323)

Travelling anti-clockwise around the island starting at Lihou, the two paddled for 25 miles in a route mapped and assessed by Mr Fuller.

They commenced their voyage at 5.30am on Thursday 26 July, finishing at 11.10.

Assisting the challenge was Sean Fuller, Hannah Lesbirel, Pierre Bisson and the Guernsey Coastguard.

Mr O’Nillon said there were many issues throughout the trip, beginning with a crash into rocks that led to his board being damaged just 100 yards from the start.

This made each paddle stroke harder because of the increased water resistance.

Early on into the journey, they caught sight of a cruise ship, giving them an object to focus on.

The first 10km passed in one hour and 20 minutes – a good sign, but followed by an arduous journey to St Martin’s Point at around half the speed.

Dolphins accompanied the two for a short while on the east coast, described by Mr O’Nillon as a ‘moment of magic’.

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‘A pod heading in a straight line towards me, feeding on the surface, dived under my board and went to wish good luck to my paddling partner Alex further back,’ he said.

Their support boat left four hours into their trip after a final refuel of water and a shedding of layers to combat the increasing temperature.

Fatigue and headwinds, described by Mr O’Nillon as being ‘a paddler’s worst nightmare’, confronted the two on the final leg of their journey.

Eventually the wind dropped and the challenge was completed, after five hours and 40 minutes of nearly non-stop paddling, followed by a long walk up a rocky beach carrying 14ft paddleboards.

Their time was three hours and 45 minutes faster than that of Jim Elliott and Alan Jenner’s 2012 trip – the first occasion that Guernsey was circled on a paddleboard.

  • For more information on paddleboarding visit the Guernsey Paddle Club’s Facebook page.
Aaron Carpenter

By Aaron Carpenter
News reporter

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