Mark Hines

Professional Adventurer and Endurance Athlete

Mark Hines is used to extreme adventures in the Sahara, the Amazon and the Arctic.

He describes his 4500 kilometre journey on a Billboard H4 from London to the Black Sea as an endurance long haul Sup. If Mark succeeds this will be longest Sup journey ever made in Europe.

Mark’s trip is set to last for three and a half months throughout the summer of 2017. In late May, along with Michelle Ellison, he left London on the River Thames and headed for the South East Coast to cross the English Channel. Mark is now well into France and making good progress.

“Crossing the Channel is going to be cruel, the hardest part of the whole journey. I know swimmers that crossed over to France, who fought and fought, just to stay in the same position for two hours, so I have no illusions that it’s going to be easy.”

The next big hurdle will be to navigate the countless locks along the route. Some of the locks are huge and will require me to walk for several kilometers before launching it onto the water again.

When Mark Hines first tried paddleboarding he was hooked, and soon after he contacted Paul Hyman from Britain’s biggest stand up paddling school, Active360. Paul sent Mark to Copenhagen to meet Kira and Soren Strange, who at that point were in the middle of creating a new expedition board: The Billboard Heron 4m. His first go on the H4 was in “perfect” expedition conditions through the frozen waters of Copenhagen, complete with snow and sleet! 

Since then, Mark has been a part of the test team, and in 2016 he and Soren took the Billboard H4 to the Norwegian fjords to fine tune it with all Mark’s kit fully loaded on the deck.

“I am looking for two things in a board: speed and stability; usually you have to compromise on one or the other because either they are wide and tend to be slower, or they are narrow and not very stable. The H4 is the perfect combination because it’s fast and very stable.”

In addition, Mark mentions the three-layer base, which protects the board against scrapes and potential punctures; while the pressure relief valve would come in handy in the +40C Serbian summer heat. And most importantly, the cargo system makes it possible for him to fasten all the gear for his long journey.

As Mark says:

“This is a real expedition board.”

This is a list of some of the gear that Mark will carry on his Heron 4m from London to the Black Sea:

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag and mat
  • Ultra-light stove
  • Cooking set
  • 4-5 litres of water
  • Cameras
  • Solar panels
  • Satellite tracker
  • One set of neoprene shorts and a top for paddling (that he will wash in the river every day)
  • and one set of casual clothes, sandals and sunglasses.

All this will be attached to the front of the board in a big, dry bag. The rear cargo loops are dedicated to items he need to access quickly, like food and his camera. He will drink water from either a bottle or hydration bladder.

Follow Mark’s spot tracker here

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