David to conquer Europe in next gruelling paddleboard challenge
Alliance of Sport ambassador David Haze is taking his next paddleboarding challenge to even further extremes as he attempts to traverse the longest lakes in 33 European countries in 66 days.
After taking the ferry from Portsmouth to Santander and driving his camper van to Portugal, David’s ‘Untamed Beasts’ challenge will begin by paddling 83km across Lake Alqueva on May 9. Over two months later, having crossed the longest lakes in countries through western, southern, eastern and northern Europe, he will finish in the Netherlands, having covered over 15,000 miles by road and 1400km of water.
David will be accompanied on the trip only by his partner Sarah (who is a nurse) and a film crew making a documentary. He is undertaking the adventure to raise money and awareness for the Alliance of Sport, as well as two other charities close to his heart, the RAF Benevolent Fund (who looked after he and his mother following his father’s death) and Adventure Therapy.
For those unfamiliar with David’s story, his passion for adventure, reform and rehabilitation began after working with Penal Reform Solutions while serving a second prison sentence at HMP Guys Marsh in Dorset. He was released in April 2020, and set about repairing his life through pushing himself to the limit and achieving goals through adversity.
That determination led him last June to paddleboard across the longest lakes in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland in four days, setting world records on each. He then paddled the 208km-long non-tidal section of the Thames non-stop without rest or sleep, breaking another world record. Last November, he crossed Ireland’s longest lake (a mere 43.5km) also setting a new record.
To warm up for his ‘Untamed Beasts’ tour – his biggest challenge so far – he is attempting to set a new record for paddling across Loch Ness on March 7, raising money for the Jubilee Sailing Trust.
Looking ahead to his 33 lakes in 66 days challenge, David said: “This is one of the biggest paddleboarding adventures anyone has ever done. It’s not just the paddleboarding aspect, it’s the logistics too. It’s going to be the biggest physical and mental challenge I’ve ever done in my life.
“The weather is going to be a huge factor, we could get lost or be held up at borders, especially with a film crew in tow. There might also be a war on in Russia – and they have the longest lake of all! As beautiful as they are, I’ve heard some horror stories about some of these countries, so I’ll have to keep my wits about me.”
David will take inspiration from the obstacles he has faced – and overcome – in the past.
“On Loch Corrib in Ireland there were two hours when I was against the wind and simply not moving. The agony I was in physically and mentally was awful. When I came off the water, the sense of relief that I’d finished was unforgettable. I also look back to the River Thames and remember what pain I was in towards the end.
“I know now that any time I’m off the water and facing problems, that same mindset is crucial to get through life. As I learn more and more, it would be great to share that with people, especially guys inside who are in the same position as I was a few years ago.
“I just don’t want to miss out on any opportunities. Sport has completely transformed my life and I want to make people aware of the power of sport and adventure. I want to learn more about who I am, what I’m capable of and spread the word about sport and rehabilitation.”
Supported by his sponsors JP Australia, Fatstick, Saltie Sports and Define Wellness, David’s ‘Untamed Beasts’ challenge will once again be raising money for Alliance of Sport. You can sponsor him here.