Alfresco Paddle a Pizza
Three years of saying that Alfresco should enter ‘Paddle Something Unusual’ at Paddle Round the Pier we actually entered thanks to Neil Laughton from Laughton and Co who ran with the idea. Paddle is the world’s biggest FREE beach and watersports festival. It runs every year and it is all about having fun and raising money for worthy causes. The event is put on entirely by volunteers, from the cleaners to the water safety teams and have raised over £300,000 since it started. Money raised goes to Surfers against Sewage, RNLI (sea life saving group) and Amaze which provides support for parents of children with special needs.
We entered with the idea to design a 3 metre pizza!
We kindly had local companies donate their time and services to make the World’s largest floating pizza… or was it? Sussex signs donated the print of the pizza which was taken from an image of one of our very own pizzas, a Monte e Mare. A delicious pizza made up of king prawns and Parma ham! They also donated the flag which took centre stage on our raft! LK Carpentry donated all the timber to build our raft, Applicado took over the online marketing so we had maximum exposure and My Talking Drum did all the graphic design work. Neil Laughton who manages his own team building company (Laughton and Co) was the reason this was all made possible, an inspiring man who has climbed Everest and sees the possible in the impossible!!
We built the raft the day before with a back drop of sea conditions and winds that did not look too promising! Anyway, optimistic we cracked on using two Canadian canoes as our base. These were used to Exhibition in Bering Strait so we had every faith in our materials! It took approx. 2 hours to build and we then left it overnight hoping that no one would have walked off with a half-ton pizza!
On the day sea conditions were calmer so we all started out with smiles! We all dressed in chef whites which covered our life jackets to ensure we maximised the look of overweight chefs!! Our team was made up of 8 VERY competitive people all wanting to win. Little did we realise it wasn’t a race and in fact the challenge was to get to the buoy and back! Easy…surely? We had canoes that had survived Bering Strait, a man who had climbed Everest, an international swimmer, members who can ride a Penny Farthing across London and a man who has kayaked the length of Scotland!
Our plan was still to race, it’s in our blood! We had a very professional team brief from Laughton and Co and we had our positions and were ready!! It was our go and suddenly we were off with a go pro attached to our flag pole to capture the moments!!! A few of us lost shoes on entering our raft but we were tough we could manage without!! Our instructions started 1, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2 a beautiful rhythm of paddles in and out of the water in a very synchronised manner. We were so powerful we moved through the water like a catamaran with 20 knots of wind behind us! We smirked at the raft on our right as they sunk whilst we stayed beautifully positioned on top of the water! The buoy was now in reach distance but NOOOOOO was that water cooling our feet or sweat from the effort? It was water, very quickly our Canadian canoes had filled with water.
We had our plan if this was to happen, all was ok, we had our children’s sand buckets to keep the water out, but unfortunately as quickly as we grabbed our buckets we were completely under the water, a sinking 3 metre pizza was heading for the shore bed! The signal ‘Bail’ was shouted and we abandoned ship! With the raft now weighing less it reappeared and we knew that we had to get it back to shore so we could save the raft and enter next year!!!!
Watch this space!!!