Fighting for a plastic-free Bermuda
An “adventure conservationist” group has declared the inaugural Devil's Isle Challenge a success, raising awareness and funds to support conservation.
The event, hosted by Plastic Tides, was described by organisers as an “elite endurance race” with participants paddleboarding around the island to bring attention to plastic pollution in local waters.
Eight participants, including five local and three international competitors, took on the challenge of circumnavigating the island on stand-up paddleboards on Saturday, while two teams took on the challenge as part of relay teams.
Chase Toogood took home the prize for the solo competition, recording a time of 10 hours and 52 minutes, with Josette Lata from New Jersey producing the fastest time for female competitors.
Meanwhile Team Oracle's SUP team successfully completed circumnavigation in 7 hours and 25 minutes and Anders Gustafsson of Team Artemis surf-skied around the island in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
Events continued the following day, with 15 competitors taking on an intermediate race around Somerset Island along with a series of other competitions, including a SUP limbo competition and a children's race.
A Plastic Tides spokesman said that about three hundred people attended the weekend activities, describing the event as a “tremendous success” fundraising for SUP'r Kids Bermuda, which offers free paddling for Bermuda's youth.
Gordon Middleton, a member of the Plastic Tides team, said: “Saturday couldn't have been better for our inaugural year. Our first place overall finisher set a new record for solo SUP circumnavigation and we got to watch as Josette Lata made history by becoming the first woman to complete the non-stop circumnavigation on stand-up paddleboard.
“Having a plastic-free event was key to our success, but there's still room for improvement. We plan to be a model for plastic-free SUP events the world over. We can't wait for next year. With Team Oracle setting the bar for Relay SUP circumnavigation, we expect to see pro teams coming out to compete for the top position.”
Christian Shaw added: “We're really happy with how the event turned out. We had such tremendous support from our sponsors and the local community to make it happen, which we can't thank them enough for.
“It was really entertaining watching the live tracker as the paddlers made their way around the island.”