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Thursday 18 December 2014

Student attempting to row 2,500 miles to raise 50k for charity

Southampton Solent University student Steen Stones is attempting to row 2,500 miles around the UK in a restored 26 year-old Australian surfboat to raise £50,000 for charity.

Steen and his five crew members from Bournemouth Surf Boat Club will attempt a Guinness World Record by using the restored surfboat, as well as raising money for their two chosen charities, The Royal Marines Association and Wessex Cancer Trust.

Donning their speedos to help reach their fundraising target, the team aim to complete the challenge in 100 days, calling at 90 ports, rowing an average of 25 miles a day and broadcasting live video blogs. They’ll also consume around 5000 calories a day just to maintain their rowing power.

The crew in their speedos

Thirty year-old part-time Business Studies student Steen, who served with the Royal Marine Commandos for five years, says: “I toured Afghanistan three times, so danger isn’t unusual for me and I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“The Royal Marines Charitable Trust is particularly close to my heart,” he continues, “they have supported wounded friends and also the families of those who sadly did not come back.

Propelled by four 15 foot oars, the restored surfboat is an old, 26 foot long, Australian rescue craft that has been adapted to be used in this high-adrenaline water sport.

The idea of the ‘Around the UK Charity Row’ challenge came from team member Ellis Hagger, an extra in Ridley Scott’s movie Robin Hood . He said: “We had so much fun on the film set that we decided to take up the sport of surfboat rowing and set about restoring an old Australian surf boat. When that was completed we all thought it would be a great challenge to take it out on the water and see what it could do!”

Due to set sail in May 2015, training is now underway and the six-man crew are looking to secure sponsors and supporters to raise the £40,000 needed to complete the challenge.

See the crew in training – in their speedos – on 18 December (between 9am and 8pm) at Castlepoint shopping centre in Bournemouth. A patrons’ evening for existing and potential supporters is being held on 19 February 2015.