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?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The 60km a day mission

Outside the rain falls heavily, a storm blowing away the excessive heat that has plagued the last two days. Through the mosquito-netted sliding door of our cabin beside Lake Conjola kangaroos bounce around searching for shelter and food. The brightly coloured parrots which earlier fed from the hands of Holls, Kate and Laura have flown away now and an almost eerie calm has descended despite the gusting wind which bends trees sideways beyond our veranda.

I’m exhausted and will likely be tucked up in bed by 8pm tonight. Today was Day 6 of the 60km per day gauntlet, which has so far taken me 381km from Cann River, across the New South Wales border and north up the coast past Eden, Narooma, Bateman’s Bay and Ulladulla. Five more days of 5am wake-up calls should see me roll into Sydney on Saturday and break Jack Smith’s old world distance skateboard record, a target I’ve had my sights on since waking up on a balmy Swansea morning in April 2005.

So, can anything go wrong? In short, of course! After an hour or so of skating tomorrow morning I should pass the 4600km mark from Perth but beneath my socks lie war wounds attributable not to the Nullarbor Plain or Great Ocean Road but to eastern Victoria and the south coast of New South Wales. I have never had to skate hills like those I’ve upped and downed this week, not even during the Scottish leg of John O’Groats to Land’s End earlier this year. Blisters on the ball and Achilles region of my right foot and also blistering on my left heel which was injured in Adelaide a couple of months ago leave me with pain at every push. I’ve been lucky for much of this journey, skating through muscle fatigue and pretty minor blisters but avoiding repeats of the horrific blistering and infection that plagued the UK journey. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to a journey with little rest-time built into the schedule, but as the prolonged journey rolled into its fourth month my body is struggling to deal with the strain it’s under. My immune system is shot; a small ulcer on my lip has still not healed after more than four weeks and there is little chance that my feet will heal completely before the journey is out. Heading up the BoardFree project may mean there are more commitments than simply skating – school visits and charity events to name but two regular features in the schedule – but be in no doubt, when a Western Mail journalist back home in Wales described BoardFree Australia as an endurance style event he couldn’t have been more wrong. This is one hell of a big country, pushing across it on a skateboard in 73 days is no holiday, but in many ways even I have only just begun to realise just how hard it has been. I dreamt recently about a giant hand picking me up and plonking me down in Perth, just in time to start the journey over again – but this time I knew what was coming. Horrifying!

Team spirits are in some kind of limbo at the moment. We haven’t had a proper rest since Adelaide and everyone’s completely whacked, we’re going through the motions everyday and barely have the energy to carry out an argument, let alone solve any lingering issues. Nothing too serious is going on, the core of the team is excited about getting to Sydney and reaching the record, but a big mention needs to be given to the girls recently. Fundraising and feeding is their forte and they haven’t stopped for weeks. Drooping eyelids are symptoms but not excuses and hundreds of donated dollars to go straight to Link, Lowe and Sailability have been extracted from unknowing but willing locals on our route.

To end, I hope that the record-breaking push into Sydney lifts our spirits just enough to keep us going until a week-long break from Christmas Eve onwards. We all need it, we’re all looking forward to it. God help us, my feet are begging me for a rest!


  • At 3:41 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I can only imagine the pain you are experiencing. Do take care of yourself. God will help you every step of the way. God Bless you all.

  • At 11:44 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…'ve done amazingly well and it's not far now. You and the team should be incredibly proud. Good luck.

  • At 1:37 am, Blogger Elspeth said…

    I winced just reading that post, but you have done so well, good luck for the rest of the way!


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