South West Charity Kayak Challenge

The Challenge … in brief… 4 kayaks, 4 paddlers, 300miles of coastline (approx), 1 land support crew, 2 weeks…

Who… Chris Brown-Martin, Matt Retter,  Chris Lake & Steve Carter.

When… August 2013 – aiming to finish in Exeter at the Quay on Bank Holiday Saturday (24th August)

Why… again, in brief, to support 4 charities – Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, Surf Life Saving GB and Alpha1 Awareness UK.

Written in brief like that it sounds easy doesn’t it? But ‘easy’ is definitely not the word!  They will face 2 weeks of navigating tides, rip currents, rocks, other boats, sharks (I kid you not – basking sharks have  been spotted this year!), dolphins, weather (who knows what 2013 summer holds for us?!)…..  2 week holiday? No!

Chris would be the first to say that life is for living and he always lives life to the full, and more often than not, doing so at a fast and furious pace! Yet in 2008 a devastating fire changed things for Chris and he either had to make changes in his own life or face worsening health, and potential disability.  The George Hotel burning to the ground ‘saved’ his life.  Having always thought he was asthmatic the smoke inhalation caused more problems than expected, and a subsequent blood test confirmed that Chris has Alpha1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a genetic condition potentially causing lung and liver conditions.  A chest X-ray showed up the start of emphysemic changes.

So, at the age of 26 Chris was faced with life changing news – he was almost certainly facing deteriorating lung and liver function, disability and, potentially, premature death.  So Chris chose life!  Taking on board the diagnosis, which cannot be cured, he now looks after his health, his lungs, his liver, and at the same time is still able to enjoy life to the full – and still fast and furious at times!! Life is still for living.  And, as the fire ‘saved’ Chris’s life, he wants to help save others – this year for the 4 charities mentioned, which he feels are all vital to our local community here in Devon and Cornwall.

Matt loves any sport, any challenge, and as a friend of Chris is joining him in this charity challenge. For Chris Lake this is a challenge he has really wanted to be a part for some time, for many years Chris was an Outdoor Pursuits instructor, with Kayaking being his preferred activity (reaching 4 star level in both river and sea). Unfortunately this career was ended early in 2002 after a car crash left him with muscle damage to the lower & middle part of his back, being sat in a kayak for more than 20 minutes would cause a huge amount of discomfort.

And Steve loves adventure but has spent the last decade raising young children so has had limited adventures!  He now feels with the children being older there is more time available.  And feels that at 41 he wants to spend time pushing his limits on this beautiful earth whilst giving something back. So Chris L and Steve are very excited to have joined the team and look forward supporting Chris BM & Matt, raising plenty of money for the chosen charities and completing very personal goals.

The Charities

Through this incredible challenge, the four guys are aiming to raise a staggering £10,000 for 4 great charities. Alongside the Cornwall Air Ambulance Trust, the event is also supporting the work of 3 other fantastic charities: Devon Air Ambulance Trust, Surf Lifesaving GB, and Alpha 1 Awareness UK.

To donate to the challenge for Cornwall Air Ambulance, go to or donate by text by sending KCAA82 £[amount] to 70070

Mass Paddle!

There will be a Mass Paddle on Exeter Canal on Saturday the 24th August in celebration of the South West Kayak Charity Challenge team reaching the end of their 2 week, 300+ mile paddle. To take part, visit their website here

For more information on the challenge, go to

Like the team on Facebook:

Follow them on Twitter:

Saturday, 10 August, 2013 - 09:00 to Saturday, 24 August, 2013 - 17:00

Bude to Exeter

South West