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AquaSkipperUK Ltd.

The Beginning

23 February 2007

How a newspaper article can be more than just something to read…

It’s Friday night and I’ve just been talking to a man named Duncan. I like the guy, we shared a couple of pints in a Reading pub as outside a little dog ran about on the roof. Duncan is a family man and a businessman and he’s had his name in some of the papers recently. Which is how I came to be sharing a pint with him in the first place.

Step back eight days. I’m on the train, browsing through a copy of the Metro someone had kindly left behind on the Swansea to Paddington service. Turn the page, stop. ‘Water weird way to get to work,’ reads the headline. Beneath, a picture of a man on a quite bizarre contraption, which sits like a bicycle in the water. ‘It drew confused glances…’ the article read, ‘as volunteer Gareth Fowler tested it on the Thames yesterday …’


‘Well,’ I thought to myself, ‘that looks quite interesting. I wonder if I could cross the Channel on one of those things?’ I read on, glancing now and then at the picture. The man who imports the AquaSkipper into the UK, Duncan McDonald, was interviewed in the article and said something like, ‘these things are crazy. Once the extreme sports guys get hold of them, there is real potential.’ I ripped out the article, tucked it into my wallet, and sat on it for a couple of days.

On Tuesday I looked up the AquaSkipper website and wrote an email to the contact address. It went something like this.
Dear Duncan, My name is Dave, I’ve just returned to the UK after skateboarding across Australia and have developed a taste for adventure. Would it be possible to have a test ride (or three) on the AquaSkipper with a view to potentially using it for an endurance event/ record attempt in the future?

And then I waited. The phone rang a few hours later. “Hi Dave, it’s Duncan from AquaSkipper.” We arranged to meet later on in the week, and that was that.

Friday came, I took the train to Reading. Duncan grinned as I skated towards his car. Elsa, my longboard, hasn’t quite been released to retirement since completing her final journey. In a couple of weeks she’ll have pride of place on my wall. She’s earned the rest.

It seemed fitting that I skated towards a new challenge. Duncan was straight up about the AquaSkipper, “It’s not easy at the beginning,” he told me, “I still haven’t got the hang of it.” We finished our drink and headed out to the ever-darkening car park. Ten minutes later an AquaSkipper sat on the grass like….like nothing I’d ever seen before. It glistened in the lights from the pub. An enormous bicycle-like contraption, footpads to stand on, handlebars, and hydrofoils at the front and back. It looked plain weird, but my heart was racing. We packed it up into the specialist bag and that was that. “Good luck,” Duncan said sincerely.
All I had to do now was learn how to ride the thing. A new challenge is on the horizon. I think I’m going to call it BounceFree.
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