Nick Thorn crosses the Channel

Joseph Bulmer

North Devon “iron man” completes another epic

WOOLACOMBE “iron man” Nick horn has added another feat to his intrepid tally after joining a team of surfers to paddle across the English Channel for charity.

On Monday, July 25 he set off from Shakespeare Beach at Dover with Toby Lowe, Reubyn Ashes, Phil Williams and Dave Manley to paddle the 26 miles to the north coast of France.

It is the first time a group of paddlers have attempted the channel crossing for charity and they made it on to French soil with a record breaking time of five hours 22 minutes, beating that set by James Cracknell and company for Sport Relief, and only 13 minutes slower than the world record.

The group were raising money for Surf Relief and the charity’s Surfable project which provides disabled children and young people with surfing experiences through a network of surf schools across the UK.

The crossing was accompanied by grey seas and chilly weather. It was very different in some ways to Nick’s previous exploits, including swimming from Lundy Island to Woolacombe last year and then in June paddling 37 miles from North Devon to Lundy and back again.

“With 45 minute stops, the paddlers were strong and making good time,” said Nick.

“We firstly came into the shipping lane that went south, fortunately there were not too many big ships to navigate around! We did pass eight cross channel swimmers, which for me was amazing, to think all those people were swimming on the same day and to see how popular it still was.

“At one point in the paddle it was 210 ft down – no touching the bottom there then!”

Arriving at Cap Gris Nez in France, much to the bemusement of local, the five and their cameraman headed to a beachside restaurant “for a cheeky beer.”

“The staff did look a bit bewildered,” said Nick.

“Five glasses of your very best beer was ordered with a few well earned saluts and we were back in the water and on the boat for a much faster pace back to England.

“This whole trip for me was an amazing feat and in aid of such a good cause. I am very keen to take the paddle on single-handed next year and try to smash the record. With many thanks to all the crew on the boat and organisers of the event – it is just a great feeling to think I have completed the English Channel.”

Nick is organising a Paddle for life event at Ilfracombe Harbour on Sunday, August 7 to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West. Visit

To help Nick’s fund raising bid for Children’s Hospice South West, go to