George Shillito's 25-hour Cancer Research Windsurfathon!

Duncan Slater
George contemplates another twenty hours on board as the sun sets over St Austell Bay. Photo by Adam Lewis
George contemplates another twenty hours on board as the sun sets over St Austell Bay. Photo by Adam Lewis

After after a night and a day spent on the water, professional windsurfer George Shillito achieved his target of 25 hours on the waters of St Austell Bay in Cornwall to raise money for cancer research.

The attempt started when he challenged the members of the Polkerris Pirates Team 15 junior windsurfing club to windsurf for one hour last Saturday. Twenty five children rose to the occasion and their total was added together to reach 25 hours. Undaunted by such a massive total, George started at 3.25 in the afternoon and kept going all night and all day to finish at 4.25 on Sunday afternoon.

A giant pizza was delivered to him at dusk to keep him going during the night, while a dedicated group of supporters kept watch from the shore, just able to make out the glow-sticks fixed to his sail. Occasionally, the sky was lit up by electric storms to the South but it was otherwise a dark, starlit and chilly night.

With only two 5 minute breaks on shore in the entire period, George windsurfed continuously, covering an estimated total of well over 100 miles. The steady Easterly breeze overnight was helpful but dawn brought a difficult windless period with choppy seas, followed by vicious squalls with winds of up to 20 knots and a thunderstorm. George said “the part from dawn until 8am was worst. The conditions were really hard, my back was killing me and I felt more alone than I did in the night. And I still had ten hours to go.”

George sails in to complete his marathon. Photo by Phil Pinnington
George sails in to complete his marathon. Photo by Phil Pinnington

During Sunday afternoon, a large crowd of well-wishers turned up at Polkerris Beach to welcome George ashore and at 4.25pm he somersaulted off his board to end the challenge. George thanked everyone, saying “I’m so grateful to everyone who has supported my fund-raising efforts and donated to Windsurfing for Cancer Research, and also to the terrific support team that kept me going, especially overnight.”

Windsurfing for Cancer Research is an active and energetic charity led by members of the windsurfing community who have been affected by the scourge of cancer. You can still add to George’s total, currently standing at over £1600 at www.justgiving.com/george-surf

George celebrates the end of his marathon. Photo by Phil Pinnington
George celebrates the end of his marathon. Photo by Phil Pinnington
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