Keep your eyes peeled out to sea at Watergate on Thursday 11 August – Matt Button is mid-way through a 300-mile stand-up paddle challenge along the length of the Cornish coast, all in the name of solace and marine conservation awareness.
Reading a book might be the more obvious choice for finding a moment’s peace in today’s busy world, but not for Matt Button. Driven by a passion for hidden places he has set out on an audacious exploration of the limits of the unprepared and overly ambitious.
Slipping quietly away on an outgoing tide from Plymouth at the start of summer, the author, photographer and Drift Surfing features editor embarked on a 300-mile navigation of the Cornish coast armed with a stand-up paddle (SUP) board and the bare minimum camping essentials.
His final destination will be Bude, some 300 miles away on the other side of the county, not before navigating the viper’s teeth of the Lizard and Land’s End on the way.
He has been paddling and camping his way along the coast, trawling for mackerel, gliding with the seabirds and cetaceans, and sleeping under the stars in hidden coves.
The journey is a chance to quell the voices and free the mind from the madness of modernity. Along the way he has had the chance to camp under the stars, trawl for mackerel and surf hidden coves. But above all, experience the solace found in the silence, solitude and simple rhythms of the ocean in a deeply personal and emotional reconnection with the waters around his home as he threads a line between the tides.
Along the way he has been helping to document the state of marine plastics in-situ for Tim Nunn’s Plastic Project and Martin Dorey’s #2minutebeachclean at the coves and beaches he calls in at.
Unsurprisingly, the British weather has done its best to make a mockery of such romance; the recent Atlantic swell tore apart the offer of perfect glass.
At time of writing Matt is sheltering and resting up at Hollywell Bay waiting for the ocean to become a little more forgiving. If all goes to plan, he will pass Watergate Bay at the end of the week.
Can it be done? Of course! Can it be done by Matt? That’s whole different manner. He didn’t even own a SUP when he came up with the idea although he had an old sleeping bag and some tangled fishing line and feathers. Luckily the folks at Finisterre and Red Paddle have stepped in to support him.
Matt is expected to pass Watergate Bay on Thursday 11 August. Keep up to date with his progress on Instagram, Facebook and at www.driftsurfing.eu, but if you fancy a paddle to see him along the way come and say hello!