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Meet The Paddleboarders Attempting A Record Channel Crossing

Posted by Lydia Burdett

Dave and Josh Mason are training to achieve a Guinness World Record crossing the English Channel by SUP in the quickest time, raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, a charity that Dave holds a close affinity to. They recently spent some time with Jamie from the Red team to chat through some tips and tactics to be prepared when tackling this mightily challenge this June, where they took to the River Dart to discuss strength, diet and paddleboarding tips when out on the water.
We caught up with the pair and asked them about their training journey and why they chose to do this particular on-water challenge...

What is the inspiration behind you guys setting a Guinness World Record out on the water?

The draw for me with SUP especially is the wilderness of the open water. Within a few miles you can be in complete freedom and so many of the coves surrounding our beautiful coastline are only accessible from the water. I have done lots of challenges in the past in sports that I love and as SUP has become one of my main sports over the last few years, I wanted to see how far I could push myself. I said as a joke one day "It would be amazing if we could set a world record, because it would be so amazing to be in Guinness World Record book one day". We checked and there hadn't been a world record that was set for SUP the English Channel, so we applied and 10 weeks later we were accepted. We also felt that if we wanted to raise money for our charity, then setting a GWR would be the icing on the cake.

Have you had much paddle boarding experience before?

I have been SUP for the last 4/5 years and I have wanted to do a big challenge with the stand up paddleboard. There is nothing like having a goal or a challenge to keep you motivated to get out and train for. I applied in 2023 to SUP the English Channel, however someone pulled out and then I had to cancel the trip. It left a real whole for me and I had a real drive to do a massive challenge on the paddleboard. My brother Josh on the other hand, had only been on a SUP around 3 times before he agreed to come on this challenge with me. We started training and then applied to the Head of the Dart which is a 14km race from Tones to Dartmouth. We actually did ok, in our first race and also managed well to paddle continuously for almost 2 hours.

What is your training schedule leading up to the crossing?

We have been training in the gym or at home most days for the last 5/6 months. I tend to get up at 05:30 and then train for about 45mins. We have been doing a lot of resistance band work to safeguard and strengthen shoulders. To improve muscle memory and endurance I have been attaching resistance band to an old paddle and then standing on a cushion or a balance board to increase my foot strength, core muscles and muscle stability. Power output has been central to our training. If you can increase your maximal power output per stroke, then average power output per stroke will be higher. But technique beats everything else hands down. This has been helped by Jamie at Red very kindly giving us some of his time to show us some moves and lots of watching YouTube tutorials!


''To cope with standing on the board for a long period of time, imagine when you are working at a standing desk, standing up all day you tend not to worry about it to much, what you do is little subtle movements, thats the key its just wiggling your toes, moving the feet slightly relaxing. Just thinking I'm going to be comfortable standing here for a long period of time on my board, and enjoy that process. Then you will get through that endurance more comfortably.''
Jamie Harman, Head of Sales

Tell us about why you wanted to do this particular challenge?

You see, my life began with a challenge. At just two days old, I underwent groundbreaking open-heart surgery at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) with only a 17% chance of survival. Against the odds and dying 3 times, I survived, thanks to the pioneering efforts of the medical staff. This life-changing experience, coupled with ongoing yearly check-ups (now at St Bartholomew's hospital), GOSH has deeply shaped my perspective.

Not only do I owe my life to GOSH, but my son also receives specialised care there, underscoring the profound impact this institution has had on my family. Moreover, I am acutely aware of the uncertainties that lie ahead, as I face the likelihood of further heart surgeries due to complications from my condition.

Despite the challenges life has thrown my way, including a debilitating car accident that left me in a wheelchair and required multiple surgeries to recover, I am determined to give back. Together with Josh, we aim to raise both funds and awareness for GOSH, ensuring that future generations receive the same level of exceptional care that I have experienced.

Our record-breaking attempt is not just about physical endurance; it's about resilience, gratitude, and paying homage to the institution that has played such a pivotal role in our lives.

Are there more challenges for Dave and Josh waiting to be had?

We are discussing what SUP challenges we could do next as we have absolutely loved the SUP community and my love for the sport has only deepened.

How are you finding the Voyager boards for this particular experience?

We originally had two cheap boards and it wasn't until we went to try the Red Paddle Co range of boards did we understand the difference that a SUP can make. It was a very difficult weigh up between the 13'2" Voyager and the 14"0" Sport+. The Voyager board features a V shaped hull which keeps the board so straight and over 5 hours of constant paddling, that will hopefully save our arms some energy. I cannot underestimate the benefits of having such a solid board on the water. I feel the challenge would have been unachievable without these boards.