The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Smoothie Does It: One month to go

The clock is ticking and the temperature is rising at BoardFree towers. Support is pouring in and taking numerous forms; verbal, written, product. At the moment it’s a bit like being Ewan and Charlie in episode one of the Long Way Round. People are giving us things and it’s exciting. Only yesterday did an unnamed drinks company send us a little package. Far be it from me to be interested in product placement, but I do like an Innocent Smoothie! Another sponsor I’m grateful to is ClicExtreme. They don’t half make some cracking sunglasses, but they’re also paying for our BoardFree leaflets, which myself and team distribute everywhere we go. Thanks Clic!

So, in a month I’ll be on the road, somewhere just south of John o’Groats. The nervous excitement is starting to tickle my feet and knees. The challenge ahead is enormous (all the more so because I don’t have any bearings yet!) and the more people who hear about BoardFree the more often I get told that I’m crazy. I’m starting to believe the hype, but at the same time am just becoming more driven than ever before. As the days go by the more extreme the task ahead seems but BoardFree is making people smile, strangers are commenting on Simon’s video which sits on the website’s homepage, donations are trickling in and publications want to cover this harebrained scheme.

We’ve also got a page on now. Housemate Sam has valiantly become BoardFreeLance and is sticking his tongue out at employment, and he spends goodness knows how many hours each day looking for potential ‘friends’ to add to our growing online internet community. Meanwhile Dan is now working in a local pub earning some much-needed cash, Beccles is on the last leg of a stressful few weeks at work and our very own snapper Holly, also BoardFreeLance, is doing her bit from the south coast. Simon, currently in the middle of producing a film in Cornwall, went snowboarding last week. Everyone’s happy! Here’s to a good month.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Postcards and campervans

Rain falling, a lack of decent bearings and a heap of computer stuff to do = not much training. But I take heart from the advise of the Skate Across America 2003 team, who say 'you can't really train for something like this, it's mostly mental'.

Mental it is, but the next month is going to be as much of a test as the following month on the road. The checklist is being compiled, and it looks something like this...

- Find a campervan sponsor
- Find a digital camcorder sponsor
- Find a sponsor for a digital dictation machine
- Find a sponsor for bearings
- Get people to send in their second-hand OS maps
- Find accomodation for Night 1, Night 2, Night 3.......
- Sell BFUK miles for sponsorship
- Keep blogs up-to-date
- Train a bit...

A postcard dropped on the mat today. It was from Si....

I've still not quite worked out why Si seals his letters with a kiss, but with four months on the road in Oz to look forward to I'm sure we'll find out....hmmmmm.

Ok, it's late, I have piles to do before beddies and maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will bring some sun and a campervan! Oh, the things we look forward to.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Clocking up the miles

Miles Skated Friday: 24
Miles Skated Saturday: 7
Miles Skated Sunday: 12
Miles Skated Monday: 3

Miles Skated Today: 24
Pasta Meals Eaten: 1
Groin Strains: 1

This Thursday I'm inviting skaters from all over Swansea to join me on a twelve mile skate. The headwinds around the bay at the moment are killer, need to get some gasping boys and girls on film.

The weekend in London was awesome. Joined the Sunday Stroll, which involved myself, one other longboarder and at least a hundred inline skaters rolling around the streets of London. (see Amazing experience, everyone was really friendly to me and my immobile yellow board. Seriously, every city in the world should have a regular group skate, I've never seen anything like it. Roll on next time.

Friday, March 17, 2006

London, Swansea, BoardFree and Calf Strain

Weather: Dry, cold, no wind. Lovely.
Miles intending to skate today: 24
Miles skated in the last week: 68
Pasta meals eaten: 0
Bowls of cereal: 2
Bananas: 2

An eventful week in the world of BoardFree is coming to an end. I haven't written for a week for various reasons, and as such haven't had time to talk about Rae and Phil's departure from the support team. Their wedding preparations for the July D Day were gently nudging against the impending reality that 'Bloody hell we have to go to Australia. Will we have time to organise a wedding AND pack?!' In all seriousness I'm gutted that these guys have left. It's for the best, but I'm gutted. Luckily they'll still be rooting for BoardFree from the windy comforts of Swansea and will be the UK based point of contact for the project when the rest of us are away, but they'll be missed. Especially during those inevitable moments when Rae would have been c**pping herself as a suspicious cow in the outback approached the van.

With six days of training under my belt and six weeks left before BFUK begins I must admit I'm feeling some tension. Why? Because time is running out, we haven't sold any t-shirts or bands for a fortnight and I have an ingrowing toenail. The harsh light of day was revealed on Wednesday when British Airways declared that they weren't willing to help with BoardFree, not even with alleviating the costs of excess baggage, of which there will be a fair bit when four eager souls strut into Heathrow mid August laden with carbon fibre longboards and bags of leaflets. I moped for about an hour after the BA email and then wrote to Air France, Singapore Airways and Qantas. Fingers and toes crossed, except the ingrowing one.

On the doormat yesterday a package appeared. It contained a CD which contained a film which contained much joy. Finally, after 4 weeks which seemed like four years, Si had sent through his version of BoardFree's mid Feb trip to London. I tell you what, this video is a cracker. If you have just happened upon this blog and don't have a clue what I'm nattering on about, visit the gallery @ and watch the video. I challenge you no to be inspired. Skippy skating amongst the Trafalgar pigeons deserves a good chuckle - just watch the complete disinterest of the bird in the foreground as all shades of havoc erupts. One cool pigeon.

And speaking of pigeons, I've done a week of 12 milers and now it's time to up the daily trek to 24. I sit in a North London flat preparing for a visit to Hyde Park. The Friday pigeons will have something to look at after all. Come on Elsa, let's go....

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Putting my calf where my mouth is...

Weather: Mild, too warm to skate with a hoodie on. Light breeze.
Miles skated: 12
Pasta meals eaten: 1

I started training yesterday. 12 miles on the clock. Headwinds suck. Weather was conspiring against me. I skate in three directions from Swansea to Mumbles around the bay and the wind was always in my face. And on the way back. How is that possible? Was shattered by the end of it. Comforted by the knowledge that I haven't done much distance skating this year, boy is that going to change. Decide to invite other people to skate from Swansea to Mumbles and back and then tell a camera how they feel.

This morning fought alarm for ten minutes. Body ached after yesterday, last thing I want to do is skate. Gave in to alarm. Checked emails. Fed cat. Skated 12 miles. Right calf a little sore but feel much better at the end of today's run than I did at the end of yesterday's. Sunday is a rest day. Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday next week just 12 miles each day with some switch training chucked in. Then on Friday 16th the bar is raised to 24 miles per day. And so on until I'm doing 48 miles a day for the three weeks before BFUK. Horrifying thought right now. Not as horrifying as the journey itself. Strangely, despite my twinging calf and occassional panting, I know it's all on schedule. Can't wait until John o'Groats. And you just know the wind is going to be gusting northwards up the Scottish coast on Day 1. Pesky wind.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blogging the days away

Well, I've finally caught up with the rest of the team and now have my very own blog, rather than a finickity diary buried deep within the piles of pages on God help us, but now people will be able to comment on what I have to say. I suppose I should be anti-censorship so go ahead world, have a pop. And if it's not friendly make it constructive!

It has been a mixed weekend. Bouts of perpetual fatigue have frazzled my brain, brilliant considering I start training for BFUK tomorrow! But not to worry, it's nothing serious, just early mornings and late nights in aid of sponsorship hunts, flight searches and website updating. Last Friday I welcomed Holly Allen onto the team (pic left: Holly dressed as Skippy, with a very happy me looming) and I have to say this girl has been a breath of fresh air. Considering none of us had met her before she strolled up to the BoardFree posse in Hyde Park on February 18th, Holly couldn't have been more positive about BoardFree. She has been simply brimming with enthusiasm about the project and it was such a relief to tell her the good news. Her boyf Nat was over the moon too, and I'm glad to announce that he's a top bloke too and will hopefully join us in the latter stages of the Australian trip as we approach Brisbane.

BoardFree is in a funny stage at the moment. I call it 'The Vacuum'. Six months of hardcore publicity and awareness has now dropped off to a minimum as the final weeks roll by towards the April 30th start at John o'Groats, but as much as I've encouraged this media holiday, the vacuum has inevitably taken its toll on the two other imprtant aspects of the project, fundraising and the team. Our fundraising total sits just a few pence higher than £1051, an achievement sure, but compared to our minimum target, nada. It's frustrating, but I know how this charitable fundraising game works, people need something tangible to give their money to and right now it is hard to feel BoardFree. Trust me, come Land's End the total on is going to look a lot healthier. As with donations, my team is in hibernation. Individual commitments to life and work are in overload at the moment, blogs are few and far between and heads are down. I can understand this; 170 days until we wave goodbye to Perth seems both an eternity and a whisper away. Life mustn't stop for BoardFree, not yet.. For six men and women who are an integral part of this project which has been recognised by thousands and will be viewed by millions, all I can say is remember why you're on board, realise that you're in a position to make an incredible difference and ensure that you can't look back on 2006 with regrets. We are all in the middle of something special here and although we're all here for a reason those reasons don't matter now. We're in it, and we stand up and are counted by our actions now, nothing more.

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