This year’s Paddle Round The Pier Beach Festival was another resounding success, attracting over 40,000 people to Hove beach and lawns last weekend.
The sixteenth event of its kind, Paddle Round The Pier hosted a range of events on land and in the sea, including the title event ‘Paddle’. Over 800 people took to the water in various events over the weekend from swims to board races. The crowds favorite ‘Paddle Something Unusual’ on Sunday saw over 30 teams take part.
Homemade rafts and floating devices including a desert island, Santa’s sleigh and a shrine to Brighton & Hove Albion FC could be seen scrambling between the piers.
Racing on a giant washing machine with three team members, Lucy Bunyan, Recruitment Manager at Domestic & General experienced a fate familiar to many Paddlers previously. She said: “It’s out first time doing the Paddle but it was so much fun we’ll definitely be doing it again. Next time we’ll have to rethink our exit strategy as our raft was pretty much obliterated when it hit the pebbles – luckily we’d almost finished. We walked up the beach to lots of jokes about it being a good job our company specialises in warranties!”
But the event didn’t go without a hitch; on Saturday rain, wind and rough seas meant some of the water events had to be postponed and the giant inflatable slide had to be taken down.
Paddle Round The Pier Director Dave Samuel said: “It was unfortunate we had to temporarily close some areas, however safety is paramount and luckily the weather cleared up and we were able to reschedule events.”
Despite the unpredictable weather, the event raised a record amount for charity, this year supporting the RNLI, FreddySmile and Surf Life Saving GB. A total £16,000 was raised on the gates alone, the most in the festival’s history. It is thought the introduction of businesses collecting on the gates has raised the bar substantially. Main music stage sponsors Domestic & General collected the most donations overall, with staff from the Halifax coming in a close second. Additional donations from sponsorships are still being counted.
The Paddle’s Dave Samuel added, “We are privileged to work with some great people who volunteer on Paddle, its continued success is a real team effort and testament to the generosity not only of the volunteers but also the people of the city.”
The dates for Paddle Round The Pier 2015 are Saturday 4th & Sunday 5th July.
For more information visit www.paddleroundthepier.com.
Photos by Tora Baker