Of course we don’t want to wish away June, but we’re already getting excited over July’s Paddle Round The Pier. The world’s biggest free beach and watersports festival, Paddle features the best in water, street and urban sports, live music, kid’s entertainment and plenty more.
Returning once again on Sat 5 – Sun 6 July, to the beautiful surroundings of Hove Lawns, the event offers loads of free fun, stacks of great prizes, chances to try new sports, new bands to enjoy and mind blowing demonstrations to see.
Paddle has always appealed to surfers and watersport enthusiasts, but there’s no shortage of land-lubbers wanting to get involved in the action. From all the usual suspects, like surfing, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, skating, windsurfing and free running, to all new disciplines like Surf Life Saving, land paddling, kitesurfing and freestyle mountain biking‚ the event is a must for anyone who has, or wishes they did have, an active lifestyle
All the old favourite spectacles return for this year, including the Pier to Pier races, gruelling swims and the world famous title event – Paddle Round The Pier.
Arguably the centrepiece of the weekend is the “Paddle Something Unusual” event. This is the perfect opportunity for the community to exercise their creativity and fundraising skills. Previous years witnessed planes, sheds and even a replica of Tracey Island take to the sea, with mixed results. Well, generally there are only two results, sinking or floating. Entrants have to prove their creations can actually float, before being allowed to venture out to sea. So don’t think your picnic table, with water cooler bottles attached, will make the grade. The float testing process always proves popular with the crowds, as the floundering of craft produced by the foolhardy, or mechanically ignorant, invariably provides fine entertainment.
There’s plenty of land based activities for the hydrophobic out there. You can find how to turn any urban space into a surf spot with tarp surfing, or perhaps you fancy working up a sweat on Freedom Leisure’s Muscle Beach, or overcoming any obstacle in your path with the crazy parkour skills of Urban Athletics Crew. Showcasing Brighton’s surfing history, through art and photography, will be the Sharkbait team, who’ve been providing daily surf reports and forecasts for the last 14 years.
Kids as ever, are well catered for at Paddle. 2014 sees the return of Crazee Hazee as compere for the Children’s Stage. Streetfunk and Marina Studios will also be keeping the youngsters moving with demos and workshops.
A much loved core element of Paddle is the Music Stage. Started in 2006, when Jen Collins set about creating a stage featuring the best local music, it keeps the crowds entertained and raises lots of money. Once again the stage is graced by the cream of Brighton talent, including Kitten and the Hip, Duncan Disorderly & the Scallywags, Will And The People, Ez Stone, Soul of the City choir and Fat45
Right next to the Music Stage is the sumptuous delights of Paddle’s World Food Court. This array of alfresco restaurants presents even more of the planet’s best cuisine this year. There should be something for everyone, no matter what their tastes are. There’s even a promise that every outlet will have a gluten-free dish!
From its beginning as an oddball picnic for the surfers that had had been rounded up by founder Dave Samuel, to the sprawling celebration of all thing active that it is today, Paddle has gone from strength to strength. Last year the event attracted a record 55,000 visitors, and in recent years it has donated over £200,000.00 to charity. With the overwhelming support of the watersports industry, Brighton & Hove City Council and many local businesses, Paddle Round The Pier 2014 is set to be the biggest ever.