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SUP For Soldiers: A SUP Expedition Around PEI

Posted by Jordan Curet

In late June, Doug Russell will be attempting to complete a solo, 600km, paddle around Prince Edward Island, Canada on his Standup Paddleboard. To his knowledge, the circumnavigation of PEI on a SUP has never been attempted. This adventure has been many months in the making and Doug has decided to use the trip to raise money for a very important cause, Soldier On, a charity that supports ill and injured military veterans. As Doug prepares for this expedition, we had a chance to chat with him on the adventure to come.

 Q: Tells us a little about yourself. 

A: I am a member of the Canadian Military. I am passionate about paddling, coffee, my dog, friends, and family (not in that order). In the winter my favorite activity is skiing, but in the summer it is paddling.

Q: How did this project come about? 

A: I was first introduced to long distance, multiday SUP paddling during the Meanest Link. Myself and two teammates were the first SUP paddlers to complete this 420 km route around Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada. We raised nearly $10,000 dollars for Soldier On and ALS research. That was such an intensely fulfilling experience for me that it led to this - the planning and attempt to paddle around PEI. Longer distance, potentially more challenging conditions and the possibility to complete something that no one else has attempted. Lets Go!

Q: You are doing this paddle to as a fundraising effort?

A: I am dedicating my journey to all service women and men who are ill/injured as a result of their service. If you are able to donate, your funding will go to Soldier On to assist the women and men cope with their service-related injuries and work through the recovery process - I support this effort 110%!

Q: How are you training for this paddle? 

A: During the winter months while my local waterways were frozen I was training primarily on my Whipr ERG exercise machine. The Whipr conveniently has a SUP mode which enabled me to continue to paddle during the winter. Now that spring is here - I have been paddling 5-6 times per week between 5-10 kms per paddle. From my prior experience, I have found the best way to prepare was to paddle often and cover longer distances. This helps the body prepare for the challenge it will endure during the actual expedition. 

Q: How long do you think this paddle will take?

A: I believe the paddle will take me roughly 2 weeks to accomplish. I will start and end my trip in Charlottetown, PEI and will be traveling clockwise around the island. I am aiming to cover between 45-60 km per day if the wind, waves and paddle conditions permit. I have allocated 16 days total to complete the trip to ensure I have extra time to deal with inclement paddle conditions. As the first person to do this continuous, multiday journey on a SUP, I intend to travel light with approximately 70 lbs of gear, that will be stowed on my board for the duration of the trip. I will also be carrying a SPOT satellite tracker so supporters will be able to follow real time progress updates as I go.

 Q: What board are you paddling:

A: I have selected a special Paddleboard for this trip - the Red Paddle Co inflatable 13’2 Voyager. This board is fast, tracks well, is great for stowing a lot of gear, and is very stable. Red Paddle Co has also offered to do a draw at the end of the #SUPRoundPEI trip. The rules for the draw are simple; anyone who donates a hundred dollars or more, will be automatically entered into the draw, and a winner will be selected at the end! If your name is selected – the board is yours! Simple and Amazing! 

Q: What are your concerns/expectations while you are paddling?

A: My main concern is inclement weather for an extended period and/or headwinds. I know at some points I will have to face the winds but plan to maintain a flexible paddle schedule to maximize my time on the water in good conditions. 

Q: How can people get involved?

A: Supporters can donate at: Also, Soldier On will be organizing a small sendoff paddle on the day I start. This will enable others to paddle a portion of the first leg with me. Details on this are to be confirmed and more info will come out closer to the start date.

Thanks Doug! We can't wait to follow along on your entire paddle of PEI and cheer you the whole way. You can follow the expedition as well on @dougpaddles