Now this is cool… A little more than a week ago, Shane Perrin became the first person to ever circumnavigate both St. John and St. Thomas on a paddleboard. Yes you read that right – on a paddleboard.
In just 33 hours and 57 minutes, the Connecticut native who now calls St. Louis home paddled a total of 71 miles through the territory. That’s amazing!
According to Shane, paddleboarding is his “thing.” He owns his own standup paddleboard company in St. Louis and also works for a company called Vertical Oar, a veteran owned business for those who love standup paddleboarding. And he’s got a cool little gig with the company. Shane goes on these cool little adventures and films them. Vertical Oar then broadcasts them so people can follow the expedition almost in real time.
The way Shane’s Virgin Islands adventure came about is pretty neat. One of the guys at Vertical Oar happened to go to school with Cheech from St. John Brewers, so together they came up with the idea. Up until last weekend, no one’s ever circumnavigated both islands. Lucy from Rockhoppin’ Adventures circumnavigated St. John last year, but no one’s ever linked the two. (Click here to read more about that.)
The trip began last Saturday around 7 a.m. when Shane left Cruz Bay just in front of Motu. He paddled toward Red Hook and then cruised downwind along the south shore. The north shore of St. Thomas was a bit tough, he said, as he was going upwind all the way along the North Shore. He then paddled back into Cruz Bay to rethink his original plan regarding the St. John navigation.
After leaving Cruz bay the second time, Shane paddled along the North Shore, over to Ram Head and then down around the South Shore. He returned to Cruz Bay on Sunday, June 15 just before 5 p.m.
So the obvious questions – did he sleep? Did he eat?
According to Shane, he did a little “stealth” camping as he calls it. He found a spot overnight, set up in the dark and grabbed about an hour of sleep. He packed up before the sun rose, so no one would know he was ever there. As far as eating, he stuck to liquid nutrition the entire time.
So what was the hardest part?
“The night time travel,” Shane said. “The worst was a section on St. Thomas that the local surfers and paddlers call The Gut. You have a cross chop coming at you and it hits the rock walls and ricochets back at you. It’s like being in a washing machine.
“And coming around Ram Head was really rough too,” Shane continued. “I fell off. The swell, the cross chopping and the ricocheting off the walls really just tosses you around like a washing machine.”
This past weekend was Shane’s first visit to the island and he’s pretty excited to return with his wife and their two children. He even hinted that another cool expedition might be in the works. I guess we’ll all have to stay tuned…