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15/08/2014

Former student breaks prone paddling world record

While thousands of ideas are born in pubs every year, very few come to fruition. But two friends from Bristol have made a phenomenal exception to this norm.

Former SGS College student, Arron Ford along with pal, Rob Cunliffe, set a new World Prone Paddle Board Record, making it 374.2 miles along the coastline of Panama.

The trip was anything but smooth sailing for the two daring adventurers, batting sharks, storms and drug smugglers during their world record attempt.

The pair finished the trip with a log book that reads:

  • 374.2 miles paddled over 63 days (including a hospital break and Manatee induced stoppages).
  • 720,000 strokes each to achieve this new world record.
  • Surveyed 11 rivers and 3 lagoons for Antillean Manatee.
  • Discovered 3 Antillean Manatee populations that were previously unknown to the Western world.
  • 6 shark sightings (3 deadly, 3 small or harmless).
  • 4 bouts of diarrheal illness.
  • 2 spider bites.
  • 2 ear infections.
  • 2 badly burnt feet.
  • 2 ticks removed.
  • 2 sets of calves with second degree sun burns.
  • 1 million infuriating bites from every insect imaginable.
  • 4 GPS units, 4 digital cameras and a laptop are no more.

Arron and Rob completed the challenge to raise awareness for environmental charity Seacology and to collect samples and data in the hope it can contribute to the environmental protection of the area and its wildlife.

Arron comments: “It was an amazing experience filled with constant surprises every day.

“After three years studying critically endangered animals, it was fantastic to get out into the wild and conduct some primary research during our own project. With less than 3000 Antillean Manatee remaining, finding two new populations was more than we could have dreamed of and a glimmer of hope for a beautiful and graceful animal that deserves protection.

“We would like to thank everyone who has followed our trip or supported us in anyway.”

To donate to Arron and Rob’s cause visit: https://www.justgiving.com/panamapaddle/