Julia’s Dubai Kayak Challenge

‘One of the many happy memories I have of Lara is from June 2009 when we went on a last minute trip to the South of France with two other friends Jess and Digna.  Whilst there, we amused ourselves one afternoon by hiring kayaks and rowing around the beautiful coast line taking in the scenery and racing each other!

I have decided to raise money for Lara’s Foundation by completing a sponsored kayak around the Palm Jumeirah , Dubai.  The route will take me around the famous man-made island which is shaped like a palm tree, through Dubai marina and then back along the coast line to the start point. The length of my chosen route is around 25 km/15 miles which I will be aiming to complete in around 5 hours.  Along the way I will be hoping to avoid rough seas, stingrays, giant jellyfish and the occasional shark ( I am choosing to believe that the reported sightings of sharks are untrue!)  I will be completing this challenge in October so will be expecting weather in the mid – high 30’s which will be a challenge in itself and I will of course be following Lara’s ‘factor 30 rule’ as she spent many a holiday insisting that I wore a high factor!

Helping me with my challenge is my honorary life-guard, Lady Elizabeth Riesenburg, a good friend in Dubai who is very passionate about Lara’s foundation. Elizabeth is an experienced deep sea swimmer and free diver and will be helping me to train as well as making sure I am prepared for all sea conditions. She’ll also be joining  me on the challenge and already has some brilliant ideas for promoting our kayak challenge and raising funds.  Elizabeth’s knowledge has been invaluable so far and it’s a huge help to have her on board ( no pun intended!)’

Update – 26/09/12

‘We have now been training for 8 weeks, we will have completed approximately 85kms of training after this weekend and our total distance including on the day, will be 110kms. Our longest training distance will be 18kms which we are completing this weekend coming. We have seen huge improvements since week one where we did only 3kms. Weather conditions are cooling down slightly but we still have midday highs of up to 40 degrees, this might fall off a couple more degrees by the 12th October. (I hope!)’

Julia and Elizabeth’s challenge reported in TIME OUT. Read about it  HERE

Julia and Elizabeth’s challenge reported on City 7 TV, Dubai:

On September 4th, Julia and Lady Elizabeth Riesenburg were interviewed by Tom Bushell of City 7 TV, an English language news channel broadcast across the United Arab Emirates. Sporting their super cool Lara’s Foundation vests (soon to be available for purchase online) they were drumming up support for their Jumeirah Kayak Challenge in October.

The challenge on the Radio! Listen here : http://bit.ly/12mx2dq

THEY DID IT and raised nearly £2,500 in the process!

‘ The first hour was tough going as we unexpectedly had a very strong current pushing us the wrong way and we hard to work hard to compensate for that. We couldn’t even stop for a second or we’d have been pushed off route. 

After the first hour, it evened out a little and although it was choppy the waves were not too big so we made up some time. We realised we were making very good time once we got to the other side of the palm (around the 15km mark) well ahead of schedule. The temperature was 35 degrees + and we started feeling the heat around 10.30 as the sun got higher.
 As we entered the marina after around 4 hours we still had a long slog ahead. Our muscles were hurting and we were starting to get tired. Because it was peak time for boats exiting the marina, the waters were unusually choppy in and we had to manoeuvre around the moving yachts and their wakes in a very narrow channel which was quite tricky but we got a lot of waves and cheers from people on board.
After the marina we were on the home stretch which we guessed would be the hardest part purely due to being exhausted and having to sit in one position for so long! Every body part was aching by this point and we were trying to paddle as fast as we could  to get finished and get out of the boat, but battling with sore shoulders, wrists and lower backs especially.
Thanks to our support boat we didn’t have to worry about any possible danger, we did as usual see lots of giant jelly fish and we even saw a big stingray – but no sharks!
We beat our expected time of 6.5 hours (based on training sessions) by 1 hour 20 minutes, we didn’t really stop for any breaks apart from a few minutes every so often to top up on water, and were paddling very hard in order to break our expected tine. We came  at 5 hours 10 minutes to a welcome party of friends, supporters and a local TV crew.
Thanks again to everyone for all your support and help with the challenge, I can’t quite believe it’s all finished but I am pleased to say I will be taking a break from kayaking for the immediate future 🙂 ‘  Julia



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