Hunstanton to Skegness paddleboard quest

Charlie Head paddleboarding from Hunstanton to Skegness across the Wash. ANL-161207-151120009
Charlie Head paddleboarding from Hunstanton to Skegness across the Wash. ANL-161207-151120009

A stand-up paddleboard adventurer set out on the next stretch of his latest challenge from Hunstanton Sailing Club on Tuesday morning.

Planning to cross The Wash and land in Skegness, when he reaches the other side Charlie Head, 37, will have completed the first leg of his 3,000km four month journey around the UK. He will be the first person to take on this challenge on a paddleboard.

Mr Head, from the Isle of Wight, said ahead of his departure: “I’m battling the weather as usual, when it’s clear or downwind it’s fine but it’s been very windy around here lately, there’s a break in the wind on Tuesday and by midday I should be back out there. The wind and the tide are my god!”

He’ll be making the 14 mile journey with a few local people he has met along the way as he prepares to battle surging tides with only his paddleboard, emergency food rations and sleeping materials.

Heacham man Martin Hollis, 62, was among the paddleboarders and is the only person to have previously paddleboarded across The Wash. He has now completed the journey four times, with his last crossing taking place two weeks ago.

He said: “If the conditions are right it can be great but it’s difficult to navigate your way over to Skegness, I’ve been giving Charlie tips on what to look for. I could only join him for an hour or two on Tuesday so I would have time to get back between the tides, otherwise I would have gone the whole way with him.”

He said: “I’m excited to get back out there, this part of The Wash is a bit of a marker point, as soon as I get across it I have a nice long straight up the East Coast towards Scotland.”

The North Norfolk SUP club has been following his journey for a week, as he has battled 30knot head winds, difficult tides, broken equipment and carrying 30kg with him on his 12in inflatable SUP.

Mr Head said: “You have your ups and downs but that’s what makes it so exciting and what makes you connect with the experience.

“The people here are lovely, everyone’s been really supportive, it’s really refreshing. I’ve seen a remarkable bit of wildlife along the way, and some beaurtiful coastline.”

Mr Head is raising awareness of environmental damage from ocean plastics, mental health issues and to fundraise for his environment and education centred SUP charity, The Big Stand.

He is the only person to have stand-up paddleboarded from the source of the Amazon river, 1800km to Iquitos, weathering powerful whitewater late last year for a Red Bull documentary.