Paddlers standing up for charity Ocean Heroes

Sunny weather predictions. Picture: Andrew Ritchie   d475843
Sunny weather predictions. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d475843

A MARATHON stand-up paddle next month, considered to be the longest attempted in WA, does not daunt the five paddlers facing 240km who are raising money for charity.

“There is no apprehension because I just want to get started and feel that once I do get, I’ll be able to break it down into achievable bits,” Wembley paddler Luke Hallam (27) said.

Mr Hallam, Hilton’s Cameron McKay (33), Michael Booth (26), from Carine, Sunshine Coast resident Lincoln Dews (21) and Alex Fossilo, from Guildford, will spend five days paddling on their 18ft boards from Dunsborough to Fremantle. They want to raise at least $20,000 so WA charity Ocean Heroes can buy surfboards, a van, wetsuits, lifejackets and a beach gazebo to take children with autism surfing.

“The prevalence of autism has increased 50-fold over the past 30 years, and it is now estimated that at least 1 per cent of children have the condition,” Mr Hallam, Ocean Heroes’ director, said.

Mr Fossilo will be kneeling on a board he made himself and paddling with his hands because that is the way he practised for surfing.

“We could be paddling anything from five to eight hours each day and will all be wearing personal floatation devices and carry flares, walkie talkies, five litres of water and spare paddles,” Mr McKay said.

Their route and speed depends on wind across Geographe Bay and up the coast.

“The first day when crossing the bay, it’ll be a choice of ‘go straight and use the wind or hug the coast and get protection’, but ideally we’re after southwesterlies,” Mr McKay said.

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