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Brighton and Sussex Medical School student out to break world paddleboarding record
A medical student is taking a sabbatical from his textbooks to break a paddleboarding world record.
Robert Cunliffe will take a break from Brighton and Sussex Medical School to set off on an epic challenge travelling the length of the Panama Canal from the Costa Rican border to Columbia.
If he manages to complete the 1,000km, three month paddle, the 24-year-old will be setting a new long distance prone paddleboard world record, eclipsing the previous record by 300 miles.
In the process of the journey he will be paddling in two oceans, crossing the Americas through the Panama Canal and bridging two continents alongside expedition partner Arron Ford, 24.
Mr Cunliffe said: “I'm incredibly excited to get the project off the ground.
“As the expedition medic I’m a touch nervous and hoping all runs smoothly but we are well placed with precautions should a risky situation arise.
“Turning feral while we explore this place is going to be a lot of fun.
“I’ll not be rushing back to my final year of medical school if we find paradise with perfect surf fringed by golden beach and lush jungle.”
The pair have gone to Costa Rica for a month’s warm weather training and they hope to get underway on March 20.
Despite the weather hampering their training schedule at home Mr Cunliffe is confident they will have what it takes come mid-March.
The pair will be using 18ft long boards capable of covering more than 30 miles a day standing up.
They will use a large paddle to travel downstream.
They’ll be carrying all the equipment they need on deck, camping out on deserted beaches, fishing and foraging as they go.
To make the journey possible a support boat will be on hand to help them navigate crocodile-infested lagoons and rivermouths.
They will also be escorted as they island hop the Perlas Archipelago in the Bay of Panama as this leg coincides with the annual humpback whale migration.
As well as attempting to break a world record, they will also be carrying out scientific work on unchartered areas.
The trip is self-funded, and the duo have set up a crowdfunding page at indiegogo.com/projects/the-panama-paddle-expedition.
The Argus will follow their progress along the way, but for updates, visit facebook.com/panamapaddle.
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