Paddle Boarders Complete Challenge For Children’s Charity

The team tackled waters around Easter Island during their paddle board challenge (2)

Four intrepid members of the Sussex business community embarked on an exotic adventure to raise money for local children’s charity Rockinghorse.

Neil Laughton, Merial Davis, Mark Newman and Rob Pelling travelled to the middle of the South Pacific Ocean in November to conquer a paddle board challenge around one of the world’s remotest islands.

The team took part in the first-ever circumnavigation of Rapa Nui – Easter Island – on stand-up paddle boards, raising £2,000 for Rockinghorse.

The 60km challenge took place over two-days, and the expedition were faced with gruelling challenges, such as; dangerous marine life, gigantic sea swells, hazardous rocks, strong winds and ripping tides.

Team member Mark Newman, explained how the challenge went, he said: “Based on the advice of the Chilean Navy, we knew this wasn’t going to be an easy one. With the wind behind us, we thought we were in for a good start, but it wasn’t long before the wind turned against us and the pace was slow and heavy going. Our friends from the Chilean Navy joined us for a brief while and provided some much-needed moral support.

“A short while in to the mission, the decision was made to paddle a reasonable distance off shore as the waves were crashing against the cliff faces, creating lots of undercurrents and unpredictable swirls. We managed to complete just under half the island in day one during a tough nine-hour paddle.

“The wind remained against us in day two where we battled two headlands and some very daunting swells of between 20 and 30 feet, proving to be extremely difficult conditions to paddle board in. After a mammoth paddle of 18-hours across two days, our challenge was complete – and what an achievement. We are so grateful to everyone who supported us and donated to enable us to surpass our target.”

Hannah Seltzer, Challenge Events Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse, says: “All of us here at Rockinghorse are hugely grateful to Neil, Merial, Mark and Rob for taking on this extremely challenging adventure and raising such a fantastic amount of money.”

Supporting the charity’s 50th anniversary appeal, Sussex Giving for Sussex Children, the funds raised are being donated to Rockinghorse’s ongoing activities programme at Chalkhill Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit. The unit is based on the site of the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath and supports young people with a range of mental health illnesses.

To find out more about the charity and the centres and services they support, please visit

Twitter: @Rockinghorse67