2008 Paddle Round the Pier

The original Paddle Round The Pier was founded by Dave “Sandals” Samuel back in 1996 and quickly gained an international recognition as one of the hippest fund-raising events there is. Its original concept was to bring all the surfers in the area together for a social gathering and to raise funds for charity. Beneficiaries in the past have been the RNLI (5 years), Surfers Against Sewage (4 years) The Rockinghorse Appeal (3 years) and SurfAid International (2 year).

Promoted with a sandwich board
The original event was publicised by Dave cycling up and down the seafront wearing a sandwich board. Only three prizes were given out at the first paddle as opposed to the £12k+ worth now. Entrants have come from as far a field a Hawaii, Brazil, Belgium, France, Scotland and Portslade. Only one dog has completed 4 paddles. The infamous “Flip Flop” sat on the front of a longboard for two years, a kayak for one year and swam round another year.

A record breaking event
The ‘Paddle’ was then dropped for a number of years as the main organiser Dave moved abroad to work. It was briefly taken on under licence by environmental pressure group Surfers Against Sewage for two years but on a much smaller scale – with no marquee or prizes. In 2006 Dave and his team took back the reins to produce a record breaking event, thus with each year increasing in popularity, the weekend of fun is very definitely circled on the calendar of anyone in the know. Each shop/manufacturer who is sponsoring the event supplies prizes for the raffle to the value of £500 and above! Every watersports related shop in the area is asked to donate.

Importance of water safety
I first became involved in 1996 for a photo shoot and by 1998 was in charge of water safety. This involves looking after up to 300 participants in the water. I assemble a huge team of 100 water safety officers from kayakers, local surf champion Cliff Cox, local diving schools such as Sussex BSAC and the Brighton Dive Centre. We also work closely with the RNLI. Both Shoreham and Brighton crews.

My final year
It was my final year as senior water safety officer in 2008 following a record breaking sum of money raised for the three beneficiaries, The RNLI, The Chestnut Tree Childrens’ Hospice and SurfAid International. Over £20,000 in total was raised. Well done to all the team in this amazing local and original event.

Visit www.paddleroundthepier.com  for all the details.

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