DETERMINED: Will Brighton and Todd Ives in Yamba during their 60km paddle from Woody Head to Wooli.
DETERMINED: Will Brighton and Todd Ives in Yamba during their 60km paddle from Woody Head to Wooli. Contributed

Pair paddles 60km to highlight depression

WHEN Will Brighton and Todd Ives were between Wooli and Brooms Head on the second day of their paddleboarding challenge to tackle the 60km stretch of Wooli to Woody Head, almost three kilometres out to sea, and all they could see was a haze of heat ahead, they knew there was only one thing they could do.

"We just had to keep paddling, that was the only way we were going to make it," Mr Brighton said.

"My shoulders were just killing me and the heat was crazy, and all we had was Gatorade, but I figured there was only one way to get to shore and the next stop and that was to keep paddling."

It was this mental fortitude and strength to achieve their personal goal that the pair hope to inspire others with, and prove that anything is possible with the right attitude.

"It was a personal goal for Todd and I, but as soon as he told me about paddling that distance I wanted to do it for a cause, so I did it for the people in the community who are feeling down and suffering with depression," he said.

"I'd never done anything like this, so I thought if you can put your mind to something you can achieve it, that's the reason I did it and I wanted to prove to myself that I can do something like that."

The pair started their adventure on May 13, where they paddled from Woody Head to Yamba, before heading down to Wooli and paddling back to Yamba over Saturday and Sunday.

After some favourable conditions on day one, Mr Brighton said day two was the toughest challenge.

"It was probably the hardest thing I've done in my life, and so physcially challenging because of the length we had to cover," he said.

"It was tough to stay motivated, and I was starting to play mind games with myself because it was so tough, and the wind changed while we were out at sea which made it worse, but we just put the head down and kept paddling."

Despite the physical toughness of the paddle, Mr Brighton said it was well worth it.

"I really enjoyed it, and got to see some awesome stuff," he said.

"There were massive schools of baitfish and tuna leaping out of the water right near us, and we were followed by dolphins when we got into Brooms Head, and we saw heaps of turtles poking their heads up.

"It was a really rewarding experience and just goes to show if you put your mind to something, you can achieve it."



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