Here at Northcore we love the spirit of adventure so we’re always stoked to hear from individuals who are pushing boundaries, getting out there exploring, pursuing their dreams and often trying to make a positive difference along the way. One such project is from a small team of guys from Bristol who have recently set off to Central America with a goal of establishing an all new prone paddle board distance record, adding some conservation work and surfing along the way. So when they approached us for some product sponsorship we jumped at the opportunity to help out in a small way.
The guys who have planned the trip are called Rob and Arron and we sent them some Northcore
kit like leashes, travel packs, ding repair, soft racks, SUP carry slings and more. At present they are in Costa Rica training and prepping for the trip which is planned to start on 24th March. The guys will be taking stills and video along the way so we hope to update you as they go. Here’s a summary of their exciting plans:
The majority of the conservation work is towards the start of the paddle so they’re anticipating a slow start before increasing the paddle distances. One of the boards they will be paddling is a beautiful wooden 16ft San O’ board, the other is a stock 14ft prone, though slightly wider and more stable than a usual board.
As a loose framework for dates:
- Begin 24th March
- Reach the Panama Canal 5-6 weeks later around May 5th
- Cross the canal (as far as they are permitted – to Gamboa and walking the final 16 miles to keep aligned with the human power side of things!) May 5th- 8th. Arrive in Panama City on the 9th. (+ a few R+R takes them to the 12th)
- The final leg is route dependent. They will either have an escort boat and will make a long open ocean passage to the Perlas Archipelago and Island hop to their most south-easterly point, before crossing back to the mainland. OR they will continue along the south-west coastline. Both routes have their merits but they’re hoping to island hop if they can find a reliable boat captain.
Their aims for the paddle:
- Set a new long distance world record for prone paddle boarding, not a small feat for a three thousand year old sport! We carry all our gear in dry bags on deck.
- Search for undiscovered populations of Antillean manatee at 5 locations identified as havingsuitable habitat.
- Determine the status of and hopefully thereafter take the first photos of a critically endangered Salamander, Oedipina maritima endemic to Isla Escudo de Veraguas.
- Photosurvey the coastline as they go.
- To find and surf undiscovered spots along the way. As far as they can tell the coastline is as unexplored surf-wise as it is ecologically.
- To record this journey sharing with the world images of a seldom visited and largely unexplored coastline.
- To support the environmental charity Seacology who run human-environment linked conservation projects in coastal Panama. www.seacology.com
It’s an area they both visited in 2009 and were blown away by the beauty of the place and how untouched much of the country was. They also saw extensive destruction of habitat to make way for a booming tourist industry and made a promise to return, see parts of the country people don’t
usually get to see and in the process try and affect change by contributing with some of their own independent conservation work.
About Rob and Arron:
They are old school friends from Bristol. Arron is a trained conservationist and Rob is the team medic (he’s avoided the final year of Med school by doing the trip and will have to return in July) and has some expeditioning experience under his belt.
They are both keen surfers and paddle boarders though they admit a long long way from professional. They are quite ordinary guys, though both very athletic and with experience in adventure/ wilderness travel, who had a crazy dream 5 years ago, talked about it in the pub for 4 years and finally got serious about it for the past year.
Arron is most excited about finding his rare salamander and Rob by finding an idyllic point break somewhere along the way.
Northcore wish them the very best of luck in their venture and watch this space for updates and progress