Norfolk woman smashes paddleboarding world record
- Credit: Stephen Rutt
North Norfolk is home to a new world-record holder.
Samantha Rutt crossed the North Channel - an area of water between Northern Ireland and Scotland - on July 1.
She completed the challenge in five hours, two minutes and 35 seconds, which was officially confirmed to be a Guinness World Record on Tuesday, July 19.
Mrs Rutt, who lives in Langham, near Holt, broke the record by a staggering margin of more than 90 minutes, and was also the very first woman to complete the feat.
"I’m feeling immensely proud," she said. "As a child, I’d see people becoming the fastest or first in the world to do something, and thought they must be like superheroes.
"I didn’t think I’d ever be able to put myself in that category when I was diagnosed with PTSD, but I decided to challenge it and not let it define what I can do.
"Also doing it faster than the men's record feels unbelievably special for an ordinary woman from Norfolk."
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Mrs Rutt's achievement seems even more impressive when you consider the first time she stood on a paddleboard was just seven years ago, while in Portugal.
Her first experience was on such a blustery day that boards were blowing away down the beach.
But a year later her love for the sport took off, and she now teaches paddleboarding out of Wells Harbour.
The 45-year-old had originally planned to paddleboard across the English Channel for the charity, Blackdog Outdoors, before the pandemic got in the way.
Not wanting to let down those who sponsored her, Mrs Rutt opted to paddle the Northern Channel and enlisted the help of coach Larry Cain, an Olympic gold medalist in canoeing.
Training for the 21.5-mile route involved 5am starts and several long paddles each week, often battling against the elements.
Then finally, in late June, Mrs Rutt and her husband Stephen travelled to Bangor in County Down, looking to utilise a four-day window when conditions would be favourable.
The paddle itself took her from Donaghadee to Portpatrick in Scotland.
A delighted Mr Rutt added: "I could not be prouder.
“Lots of people have their heroes, but when yours is your soulmate and your wife, it's just another level.”