My Head of the Dart 2016

Saturday 9th Off to the river for a paddle….Bang! Clatter! £$%* Van blew up-I can’t make the surf sup event in Puts! Even worse, might not make it to the Dart….

Fortunately, my massive mate Rob Stewart came to rescue with a ride share on the Friday. We had an early, but beautiful start to Sunday driving through the Dorset and South Devon countryside with little traffic.

Got to Dartmouth without a hitch, registered, caught up and chatted to ohana we have seen and haven’t seen lately.

We prepped well, good food, good stretching and relaxed.

The race

All went well till the start. On the line, looked to my right and saw everyone go! Paddling buddy Bryce Dyer brilliantly summed up our start experience:

“All the training in the world won’t make up for faffing around at the start, falling off and losing 200meters on the lead pack.  Wobbling around crashing into other people like you’re on a bouncy castle doesn’t help!”

Ended up 500meters from the start, in about 20-30th place-grrrrrrreat!!

Used a fast chipping cadence I’ve been practising, made it back up to 8th by the half way mark. Had a little rest and a drink drafting Tim Harley and Charlie Jones. Sneaked past them about 2 miles from finish, put on the gas and off to the homeward strait. Firing for the line, glanced to my right and there’s Tim again!  Just didn’t have the gas left in the tank.

Tim and andy hotd 16

Tim finally pipped me, ended up in 6th, well done bud!

These measurements following are all unofficial-so don’t hang me for them!

The times were very fast, tide and wind working with the riders for a change. I recorded an average speed of 9.9km/hr (including falling off) which is the fastest I’ve got my Fanatic Strike going so far.

In the distance I could see an intense paddle to paddle battle for 1st and 2nd for the entire race. Pete Holliday won by a stroke off Ryan and bet the course record of 1hr 14min, by about 2 minutes! Then Ben P, Scott B following close behind. Tim and I were around 2-3 minutes after that.

pete and ryan

Pete and Ryan paddle to paddle to the line!

Great to catch up at the end, swap stories and have some food and drinks with everyone. Well done to all who were involved and a big thanks to all the Tushingham crew for amazing organisation and making it such as great event. Special mention to Jamie Harmen who drove back to Dartmouth to pick up Rob and my gear we’d left there-including my clothes……DOH!!

Get it right next time…….maybe;-)


P.S: Save the hanging-I wasn’t too far off the mark-official results here


4 thoughts on “My Head of the Dart 2016

  1. garethshepherd110

    Well done. Looked and sounded great and so different weather wise to last year…..with our winter up North wrecking training and a family holiday clashing twas not to be this year! Next year on my UL board the aim. All the best for 2016 and hope to catch you in passing at an event.


      1. garethshepherd110

        Hoping to do Norfolk, Central, Conway Valley Ascent and have a go at the Gwithian BOP for a laugh if the conditions not too mental as in Cornwall at my inlaws that week. If me and a few of the lads can get outpasses we might have a dig at the Celtic Cup too.



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