Olympic rower fails in cross-channel paddle bid

Contributed by admin on Sep 05, 2005 - 09:31 PM


Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell has failed in an attempt to set a new world record for crossing the English Channel on a surfboard.

The Oxfordshire rower, who won gold in the Sydney and Athens Olympics used a 16ft paddleboard and his own arms to help him cross more than 20 miles of sea between Folkestone and Cap Griz Nez near Calais. 

Cracknell, 33, who is a keen surfer, hoped to smash the current world record of 6hrs and 52mins set by seven paddlers from south California in 1996 while raising thousands for charity. 

Surf coach Pete Craske, who runs a surf school in Cornwall, joined Cracknell on the crossing and was the one who originally laid down the gauntlet to the sportsman. 

They hoped to raise £60,000 with the attempt and would have split that money between the Access Sport charity, which helps children take up sport, and subsidising surf lessons and equipment for disadvantaged children attending Craske's surf school in Polzeath.

The pair have a six-day window to complete the crossing attempt and hope to try again later in the week.