Words By Phil White
Shane Perrin Smashes 24-hour SUP Record
There’s no doubt that Shane Perrin is one of the top endurance paddlers out there. He’s completed some of the most grueling paddle races on the planet and achieved impressive marathon-paddling goals most people would never consider attempting. And, over the weekend of September 27, he added another long distance achievement to his list of SUP feats, setting a new record for miles paddled in 24 hours. Last year, Perrin posted a record of 95.6 miles, and this time around he was determined to break 100.
After his record setting performance at St. Louis Valley Park’s Simpson Lake last spring, Perrin talked with Casey Gotcher from SUP Gladiator fins about how he could add another few miles to his next attempt. Gotcher suggested that a longer course would help, as Simpson Lake’s loop only allowed Perrin to 1.2 miles, which meant a lot of time lost on frequent turns. Gotcher suggested Austin’s Ladybird Lake, which offered Perrin a longer loop of just over 10 miles from the launch point at Austin Paddlesports’ dock.
The only challenge, other than the sheer physical toll of a non-stop 24-hour paddle: Austin is a 13-hour drive from Perrin’s St. Louis home and he couldn’t leave until after work on Friday night. So, in true Perrin style, he overlooked the extra challenge, and after catching a couple of hours of shuteye early Saturday morning, was somehow ready to go.
With the extra length of the course, Perrin wanted to use an unlimited board instead of the 14-footer he paddled to last year’s record. But his custom-made craft wasn’t ready in time, so he borrowed one of Gotcher’s Dave Boehe-shaped unlimited boards. Though he had no time to test it, the bigger board helped him set a new record of 101 miles. In addition to breaking the 100-mile mark, Perrin also raised money for Charity: Water through a worldwide 24-hour relay event coordinated by Jen and Nick Yates of Live Love SUP.
“I just wanted to break 100 miles, so I’m happy with the result,” Perrin said. “I really think I can push the record beyond 110 though, particularly as I’m planning to have more time with my own custom unlimited board before next year’s attempt.”
Another thing that will aid Perrin’s attempt to further push the boundaries of SUP endurance is that he’s planning to focus full time on the sport in 2015. This will mean continuing his show for Stoke Radio and expanding the number and variety of classes offered at SUP St. Louis, which Perrin has steered to rapid growth in the past few years. “Women are really fueling our business right now,” Perrin says. “It’s not SUP technique classes they’re signing up for, but also SUP yoga and fitness. It’s great to see the scene really taking off in the Midwest and I’m excited about where we’ll go next.”
Perrin will also look to new challenges in SUP distance racing. His last remaining goal for this year is to be competitive at fellow endurance ace Ben Friberg’s Chattajack 31 Mile SUP/Kayak Race, at the end of October. As Perrin’s exploits make this a “short” race for him, he says that he’ll refocus his training for the next few weeks on “cranking out higher power output.”
Next year, Perrin will take another crack at the 24-hour record and is planning to head back to the US Virgin Islands for more island hopping between St. Croix and St. John. Then comes the big one in 2016: the 1,200-mile (yep, you read that correctly!) Florida Ultimate Challenge. “The logistical challenge is just as big as the physical one,” Perrin says. “I’m not sure yet how I’ll handle a 40-mile portage as well as all those open ocean miles, but I can’t wait to give it a try.”