The first ever Weymouth Ecover Blue Mile proved a massive hit over the weekend of 27-28 July, with thousands of visitors attending the event on Weymouth Beach and hundreds of people taking part.
An amazing 440 people – many of them young children – took part in kayak and stand up paddle boarding (SUP) taster sessions during the two days. The sessions were free, but participants were asked to make a donation to the Ecover Blue Mile’s charity partner, the Marine Conservation Society and in total raised £467.11 to help protect our seas shores and wildlife.
The Ecover Blue Mile kicked off the 10-day Dorset Festival of Sport, an Olympic Legacy event organised to mark the first anniversary of the 2012 Olympics, which saw Weymouth host some of the big water sports competitions.
As well as the taster sessions, there was also some serious racing on show, in the UK’s inaugural Naish One SUP Race Series, in which riders of all abilities could enter alongside international pros, including Naish wave rider Jan Sleigh.
Conrad Humphreys of Sport Environment, which organises the Ecover Blue Mile, said: “This is what we are all about – getting people out onto the water and enjoying what the sea has to offer.
“And we’ve been blown away by the venue; Weymouth Beach is just perfect for learning water sports.”
Steve Davies, Promotions and Events Manager at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council said: “Over 2,500 people came onto the site on Saturday and Sunday and all of the sporting activities – on land and on water – were very busy for the two days. It’s been a great success.”
Event sponsors, Ecover, handed out free samples of Ecover goodies to participants and members of the public. The water sports activities were supported by equipment partners Fatyak™ Kayaks and Naish UK, with qualified instructors from Canoe England and Weymouth College. Volunteers from Active Dorset were also on hand, evoking the spirit of London 2012 all over again!
The Marine Conservation Society had a beachside display and volunteers from the charity showed members of the public how marine debris affects the seas and wildlife.
Conrad Humphreys declared the first ever Weymouth Ecover Blue Mile a stunning success: “We’ve been absolutely delighted with the welcome that the Ecover Blue Mile has received from everyone in Weymouth.
“It’s been great to be part of the Dorset Festival of Sport and seeing all these children so keen to jump in a kayak or on a SUP board shows that given the opportunity, they love getting out onto the water.”
Next up … The Ecover Blue Mile in Plymouth, 14-15 September 2013!