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B.C paramedic trying to break world record for longest 24-hour paddleboard ride

Dallas Allison using Guinness World Record attempt to raise money for Honour House Society
Dallas Allison trains on Mohun Lake on Aug. 13, 2021. Photo by Sean Feagan / Campbell River Mirror.

Dallas Allison, a Campbell River paramedic, is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest stand-up paddleboard trip in 24 hours, while raising money for a charity helping veterans and first responders.

Allison, an experienced kayaker, became enthralled by paddleboarding after trying it for the first time two years ago.

“As soon as I stood up on a paddleboard, I sold all my (kayaking) gear, and I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.

On Aug. 25, starting at 2 p.m, Allison will be attempting to break the record of 193.8 kilometres paddled over a day. His attempt, to be performed on Mohun Lake, is the culmination of a journey of preparation and learning, as documented on his Facebook page, ‘Story of an Underdog.”

Allison picked this name because the record was set by Bart de Zwart, a world-renowned Dutch paddleboarder who is also known as “Mr. Endurance.”

“That’s why I’m the underdog — in comparison to him, basically, I’ve had a long bath,” said Allison.

The attempt will be a personal test of will, but also a chance for Allison to raise funds for the Honour House Society, a charity providing military, veterans and first responders a ‘home away from home’ while receiving medical treatment and care in the Metro Vancouver area.

“I’m trying to push my own limits, both physically and mentally,” he said. “But bigger than that, I want to help the Honour House — they’re an incredible organization and I want to be part of that.”

Anyone interested in supporting Allison’s effort may donate directly through Honour’s House website, and include the attempt in the ‘in honour of’ box on the bottom of the page.

For the attempt, Allison has set a goal of 210 kilometres for ideal conditions. But to break the record, he will need to maintain an average speed of about 8.1 kilometres per hour.

“I wish it was just simple math,” he said. “But the wind changes and other variables change — and obviously, after 12 hours, you slowly start to depreciate your speed.”

Allison’s preparation for the attempt extends beyond the paddleboard. He trains three to five hours per day doing yoga, stretching and balancing exercises and also cross-trains with running, slacklining, swimming and other activities.

On the paddleboard, Allison has been completing either six- or 12-hour long endurance sessions.

“At six hours, I’m hitting 51.7 kilometres on average, so I’m right there to be with my goal,” he said.

During his attempt, Allison will wear a backpack with two reservoirs — one containing water with electrolytes and another with ‘Perpetuem,’ a specialized liquid food for endurance sports — to keep fed and hydrated. He aims to not get off the paddleboard during the attempt and will be aided by a support team, providing him with refills.

The attempt will be a grueling physical challenge for Allison.

“My arms go numb, and I have to just kind of push through it,” he said. “At about six hours, my feet start to go numb, and at 12 hours, they feel like bricks. Not because of the cold, but it’s like laying on your arm for long periods — they go completely numb and they’re pinprick sensitive, which is really tough. Eventually too, my hands are each just one big blister.”

To be able to push through this physical hardship, Allison has been focusing on mental preparation.

“There’s a lot of positive reinforcement — when things start to hurt, I acknowledge the pain and stay thankful for being able to keep going,” he said.

To break the record, Allison will need to record a video of himself, his GPS and a clock at the same time, so his attempt can be verified.

Allison is also looking for more volunteers to help document his attempt. Those interested in volunteering may contact Observers are being asked to follow all BC parks regulations, and the event command post will be set up in Sit 24 of Pacific Yew Recreation Site.

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