May 28, 2018 | BY Chris Couve
Cat Friend (British) and Valerie Bisbal (Mallorcan) aim to be the first people to circumnavigate the Spanish Island of Mallorca (Majorca) on a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) on the Soller To Soller Expedition.
Starting on 1 June 2018 from Port Soller they target completing the 555km trip (345 miles) in 21 days. Cat and Valerie aim to raise awareness of marine pollution and provide funds for conservation projects in the Balearic Sea and beaches of Mallorca.
Paddle Boarding around Majorca is a significant venture, with many hazards including the north coast which is a hostile range of cliffs with very few places to land or shelter. Currents, winds, plastic debris, abandoned fishing nets, shipping lanes of cargo and ferries are just some of the many challenges.
Their planning started late 2017, they are now into the final days of preparation and training. Carrying more than 20kgs on the paddle board makes it difficult to manage, therefore logistics will be in place to supply the girls with food and water. Cat and Val train every day, as they will be standing on a SUP for up to 6 hours a day, regardless of wind, rain and currents, so stamina and fitness are important.
The scale of this venture puts it into expedition status. Cat and Val are looking for support to get them through. “If there is anyone on holiday in Mallorca in June, we would love them to join us for an hour or more, it would be great fun,” says Cat “you can find our whereabouts each day from our website”.
Last year Asociación Ondine with the aid of 870 volunteers removed 2.2 tonnes of rubbish from Mallorca’s beaches and 600m of ghost nets (lost or left fishing net) from the surrounding seas. “Maintaining the seas and beaches around Mallorca is important to us, says Valerie Bisbal, “. It’s heart-breaking to see the damage to fish, dolphins and other marine life. Every day we see pollution in the sea and litter on the beaches which is why this project is important to all people wherever they are”. All money raised will go to the Asociacion Ondine which works with government, business and local communities to enable conservation projects. The initial target is $15,000 (€12,000 / £10,000).
About Cat Friend
Catherine Friend (28) with a degree in Biological Sciences is a keen sailor. In 2011 Cat came 4th in the ISAF team racing World Championship for GBR. In 2013 she won the Wilson Trophy. She took up paddle boarding in 2016. On the progression from sailing to SUP, Cat reflects “Paddleboarding has a simplicity to it that’s different to sailing, the repetition of the stroke is kind of meditative. Being on the board, you’re so aware of yourself – your balance and how every movement you make has a consequence”.
About Valerie Bisbal
Valerie Bisbal (41) has lived in Port Soller all her life. Married with 2 grown up children and a 5-year-old, she didn’t envisage being involved with a project of this scale. “My family have been so supportive, it has enabled me to concentrate on the local participation of sponsors and logistics,” says Valerie, “I spend a lot of time SUP paddling, SUP yoga and snorkelling, and see the pollution. Helping projects to remove the waste is important to all of us”.
Mallorca (Majorca to many people) lies 200 km off the southeastern coast of Spain in the Balearic Sea. It is a popular holiday destination for Europeans with more than three million German and two million British people visiting each year. Major holiday resorts include Palma, Magaluf and Polenca. Port Soller the start and finish point of this venture is on the north coast surrounded by mountains.
About the gear
Cat and Valerie will be completing the Soller To Soller SUP Expedition on the Starboard 12’6 x 29 Touring SUP.
For further information see http://www.SollertoSoller.com or follow progress at https://www.facebook.com/sollertosollerSUP/ or on Instagram @sollertosoller. Information on Asociación Ondine is available through the website.
Warming up for the week ahead. Only 4 days left until we start on our adventure around the island and we’ve been reminded of the importance of warming up. Warming up is a critical process to prepare the body for exercise. Gentle repetitive actions and stretches prepares the body by increasing heart rate and blood flow. Without a proper warm up athletic performance is reduced and muscles are at risk of injury – no thank you! Time for rest before the big day #sollertosoller #rest #recovery #warmup #exercise #stretch #heartrate #bloodflow #action #island #preparation #adventure #expedition #paddle #paddlevsplastic