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Man paddle boards around the Island — days before 65th birthday

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A self-proclaimed surfer for life, Bermudian Alex Outerbridge, who will turn 65 on April 9, set out early on Easter Sunday to become what is believed to be the first man to paddle board around Bermuda.

Here to visit family, friends and to “square away” paperwork marking his official entry into senior citizenship, he set out a 7.30am to paddle his way around the Island.

Plagued by high winds and rough seas, it would be another 11 hours and five minutes before the gruelling journey would come to an end.

On his return he was greeted by a host of supporters and said: “I was ecstatic, exhausted and absolutely drained.”

He told Standup Magazine: “It was an epic arduous paddle, 45 miles, I’m very tired and resting today and still in a daze that I pulled it off. Ecstatic but very drained.”

The US publication extended “huge congratulations” to the man who rode his “SIC board and Ke Nalu paddle, and was guided by the sage advice of his wave sup boardmaker Bill Foote of Maui”.

When contacted by

The Royal Gazette, he said: “It all came out of a conversation with friends in the Stand up Paddle Industry collaborating and talking about what it would be like to go around Bermuda.”

Once the idea was hatched he said there was no turning back.

“I set out from Fort St Catherine where Sir George Somers shipwrecked, I figured I would go ‘where the fates will lead’ and that it was a good place to start,” said Mr Outerbridge.

“The wind was blowing so hard out of the NNW, I went down to Great Head in St David’s first and the turning point going west was Clearwater to go up along the South Shore.

“It was gusty with strong cross winds and very hard at some points but I just had to work a little harder. I reached Horseshoe Bay Beach around 12.30pm and came up west going north around Daniels Head, down around Commissioner’s Point and it was homeward bound from there.

“It was such bad weather in the morning, we didn’t have a support boat to follow me all the way. The owner of the boat figured it would be called off but there was only a small window of opportunity for me to pull this off,” he said.

Asked how he managed to paddle without someone close by to provide supplies, he said he made various stops to “get something to drink” and then carried on.

It took just over 12 hours to complete the trip including the stops. He returned to St George’s at 6.35pm.

“The most difficult part was from Fort St Catherine to Great Head. What’s tricky about the east end is that it has an incoming wind from the northwest and an outgoing tide going south east which is a double whammy,” he said.

An avid surfer for the last 50 years, Mr Outerbridge relocated ten years ago to make Costa Rica his new home. “I’ve surfed for five to six hours a day ever since and in the last four month I did extra fitness training.”

When asked why he would take on such a challenge approaching the age of 65, he laughed. “I’m only as young as I feel, I may be 65 in bones and muscles but I’m still a kid at heart,” he replied.

The only disappointment was that he missed the opportunity to do the challenge for charity.

“I wanted to use it as a fundraiser for disadvantaged children. But I still plan to use stand-up boards to give children the opportunity to do it and see the beauty of Bermuda from out at sea.”

The best part of the journey for him was the finish. “All my family and friends were there cheering for me. I was powered up but once I put the board down I collapsed, came in and crashed for the night.

“The day after I feel like I have an acute marathon hangover, 45 miles with strong crosswinds was double work. But it was worth every bit of the journey and I would say anybody can do it if they have the spirit and will to just try.”

Circumnavigation: Alex Outerbridge (front) and photographer Mateo De Pavon pose in front of the paddle board that Mr Outerbridge sailed around the Island. (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Alex Outerbridge on his marathon journey (Photo by Mateo De Pavon)

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Published April 02, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 02, 2013 at 12:20 am)

Man paddle boards around the Island — days before 65th birthday

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