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The spectacle that is the “Paddle Round The Pier beach festival” emerged, like all good things, from very humble beginnings.
In 1996 a small group of surfers, led by founder Dave Samuel, decided to bring together the surfing community in a social seafront event which would raise money for charity at the same time. From the 50 people who attended the first “Paddle”, the event has evolved in to what is now regarded as the world’s largest free charity beach festival, with average visitor numbers of 50,000+ people!
The ethos of the event has remained the same since its inception –
Spread a little aloha-spirit and have a good time doing it.
Given the enormous success of the event, it would appear to be working!
The Paddle was then dropped for a couple of years as the main organiser Dave moved abroad to work. It was briefly taken on under licence by environmental charity 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, and with each year increasing in popularity, the weekend of fun is very definitely circled on the calendar of anyone in the know!
But what is Paddle Round the Pier?
Briefly, it’s a summer weekend of water-based activities supported and surrounded by a “Paddle Village” of retail, exhibition and entertainments.
The list of water-sport events continues to grow each year. Some are fun, some are plain ridiculous – whilst others represent serious athletic challenges such as the long distance SUP races, Open water swims, Inshore Rescue Boat (lifeguard) racing and prone paddle board races. Competitors for these events come from all over the world.
The Paddle Village comprises an area of 60,000m² with everything from surfboards and small boats to high-end Ukulele’s and surf-art on display. There are three entertainment stages catering for a wide variety of age and tastes, numerous outdoors restaurants, land based activities such as skateboarding, BMX and Parkour, plus for the past 5 years, a specially built accessible beach, affording people with disabilities not only access to the beach, but the opportunity to go in to the sea as well.
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The original event was publicised by Dave skateboarding up and down the seafront in a sandwich board using a loud hailer!
Only three prizes were given out at the first Paddle as opposed to the £12k+ worth now!
Entrants have come from as far afield as Belgium, France, Brazil and Hawaii!
Only one dog has completed 4 Paddles – infamous “Flip Flop” sat on the front of a longboard for two years, a kayak for one year and swam round another year!
Tyler Samuel- at just 5 years old was the youngest participant to have paddled a surfboard (un-aided) round the pier back in 2009.
Paddle has raised well over £200,000.00 for charity over the past few years – Beneficiaries in the past have been the RNLI (12 years), Surfers Against Sewage (5 years) The Rockinghorse Appeal (6 years),SurfAid International (5 years),Chestnut Tree House Childrens’ Hospice (1 year) Whoopsadaisy (1 year), Surf Relief UK (1 year), Teenage Cancer Trust (1 year). Surf Action (2 years) Winstons Wish (2 years) SLSGB (1 year) Freddysmile (1 year).
Charities are publically nominated each year in September for the following years event – email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information
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