Show search form

Paddler Spotlight: Paddleboarders complete 162-mile coast to coast trail in 5 days

After a brilliant year of stories from the community, we’re kicking off the first Paddler Spotlight of 2024 with a remarkable journey of friendship and endurance.

1

Anthony Ing and Paul Norris, fondly known as Chuck, paddled the 162-mile coast to coast trail over five days, all while raising funds for Suicide Prevention UK, a cause close to their hearts. The duo hope their challenge will help others see that talking, keeping active and being around people can really help reverse downward spirals that so many have found either themselves or loved ones in. Talking, sharing, and truly showing up makes a difference.

On New Year's Day, Anthony and Chuck embarked on their challenge, with their sights set on the east coast. Over 5 days, they made their way from the Liverpool Dock along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal and Aire & Calder Navigation to Google Dock. The duo navigated 91 locks along the way, including the famous 21 lock Wigan flight and Bingley’s famous Five Rise staircase.

2

A cause close to their hearts

Every day, suicide takes around 19 people from their families and friends in the UK and Ireland— that's over 7,000 a year. This January marked eight years since Chuck overcame several negative spirals of suicidal thoughts and personal mental health challenges. In response, he enlisted his best pal, Anthony to do something that might offer a candle of light to others facing similar struggles.

Against the backdrop of challenging, cold, and adverse weather conditions, Anthony and Chuck saw this trail as an opportunity to navigate both mental and physical landscapes. It wasn’t only a physical challenge; it became a thoughtful journey. Initially, the challenge was about facing adversity alone, but as a true friend, Anthony transformed the idea into one that involves others, one that is still full of personal hardship and adversity but opens the heart and adventure to others. 

And, as if the paddle itself wasn't challenging enough, they planned to forgo accommodation, choosing to carry all their kit on their boards and sleep under tarp.

5

162-miles in under 100 hours

It was incredibly impressive how Chuck went from paddling 20-30km a day to 60km+ in the space of a month. His dedication and support from Anthony helped him get to that level. While the physical training was important, he spent lots of time improving his technique. This allowed all physical efforts to be put to best use through efficient paddle strokes.

6

Words by Anthony and Chuck

Setting off on January 1st at 12 pm, we arrived at Goole just under 100 hours later. We were pleased with that, especially as we experienced some harder paddling conditions than we had anticipated. 

The challenge was extremely hard, but doing it with a friend meant that you were able to laugh and get through the tough bits. It was a surprise how ‘thick’ some parts of the canal felt. Where it was more rural the water felt like syrup at times and slowed us down.

In the harder moments the friendship and support we had kept us going. Tough times were made easier by bank support from complete strangers who would run alongside, cheer us on, offer food, and donate money online. Each night we checked messages before going to bed and that gave us a lift for the next day's gruelling paddle.

Crossing the finish line felt amazing, as it does with any challenge. Having all our friends and family there was fantastic. But we enjoyed the whole journey along the way. From 2 years ago coming up with the idea, to planning a route and training for it, to crossing the finish line was great. We can’t wait to potentially think up a new challenge.

I didn't think I was going to enjoy the amount of miles we would have to physically do, but we did actually enjoy that aspect. It was incredibly rewarding to see the miles clocking up. The level of support also gave us a huge buzz along the way.

4

Amazing work from Anthony and Chuck, well done both! Their donation page is still open if you’d like to show them support.

If you, or someone you love, are struggling and require help please see useful links and numbers below.

Suicide Prevetion UK - 0800 689 5652

The Samaritans - 116 123

The NHS emergency helpline

Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258

Papyrus - Call 0800 068 4141 or text 07860039967

We’d love to hear about the great work happening in your community. You could be our next Paddler Spotlight feature. Find out more about the initiative here and share your stories and photos with us via our form here. Or if you prefer drop us an email at [email protected]