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Anaïs’s 10,000km kayak for the RNLI

June 20th, 2024 7:50 AM

By Emma Connolly

Anaïs’s 10,000km kayak for the RNLI Image
Anaïs got her first taste of the sport with West Cork Kayakers on Lough Hyne in Skibbereen and she credits them with helping her become the kayaker she is today.

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PASSIONATE West Cork kayaker Anaïs O’Donovan is part of a group undertaking an ambitious fundraiser next month for the RNLI.

Anaïs, along with Simon Champ, Ciaran Usher, and Andy Jeffers, is kayaking 10km for every Irish RNLI lifeboat that launched in 2021. This works out at 10,780km.

Anaïs qualified in first place to represent Ireland at the 2023 ICF Freestyle World Championships in Columbus, Georgia, USA but without funding and unable to support herself financially she made what she said was a difficult decision to retire.

‘After making that decision I wanted to give back to my community. I decided kayaking for 24 hours would certainly be a challenge as I love my sleep!’ The decision to raise funds for the RNLI was a no-brainer. ‘As kayakers we spend every chance we get in various bodies of water all around Ireland. Although we all do extensive training on how to rescue each other if we get into difficulty, if the worst happens, then it will be the RNLI that we will be calling.’

Last year’s fundraiser took place on the River Lee in Cork City. A team of 12 kayakers each kayaked for the full 24 hours. ‘We successfully raised, €10,235 between online fundraising, offline, raffles and auctions. The generosity of the community was incredible,’ said Anaïs, who is from Coornishal, between Skibbereen and Drinagh.

Now, on Saturday July 13th the team are hosting a night time circumnavigation of Cork city for kayakers, canoers and sup paddlers for what they say will be an unforgettable evening paddling around Cork city at night, again for the RNLI. Their target is €10,000 and they already raised €2,000 of that through a tractor run in Union Hall.

‘It is a bucket list item for many.’ See idonate for more.

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