A Barnstaple man is attempting to become one of the few people to have windsurfed to Lundy Island.
Joe Mitchell is a keen surfer and sailor but only took up windsurfing this year and hopes to complete the tricky 40-mile-return open sea crossing from Westward Ho! to raise £2,000 for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW).
Joe, who has been busy training since May, hopes to complete the challenge before he turns 50 at the end of October and says he is now ready to go as soon as there is a suitable weather window.
He said: “The idea is to learn to windsurf, and to then to windsurf to Lundy Island, all within six months.
“I'll take any opportunity to be on the water and learning to windsurf means combining two of my favourite pastimes, surfing and sailing.
“I had my first lesson at the beginning of May but windsurfing isn’t easy and having mentioned my plan to a few seasoned windsurfers, the reaction has been mixed, varying from ‘it's not totally out of the question’ to ‘are you serious?’.”
There have definitely been a few windsurfers that have gone to Lundy before, just not very many as far as I know.
“But I think I'm ready and rate my chances of success at about 50/50. I will only know the true magnitude of the challenge once I'm doing it," added Joe, who will be supported during his challenge by a safety boat crew.
“I will be cramming in as much last-minute training as I can, and keeping my fingers crossed for favourable conditions while the weather is still warm.
“There is nothing on the horizon yet but that could change any day.”
“This amazing charity is right here on my doorstep and until recently, I didn't realise just how much support they give to local children with life-limiting illnesses and their whole family,” said Joe, a company director for architectural visualisation firm Ocean CGI.
“The word ‘hospice’ instantly makes you think it’s somewhere they go for end-of-life support, but CHSW is so much more. I truly hope I reach my target (and beyond if possible) and help to bring some happy memories to local families.”
CHSW community fundraiser Josh Allan said: “People do some incredible things to support CHSW and this is right up there with some of the most special fundraising challenges.
“We hope the weather holds and Joe gets a good shot at completing his challenge before his 50th birthday.”
You can sponsor Joe’s Lundy windsurf challenge on his Virgin Money Giving page.