Ryan puts heart and soul into epic paddle

Wollongong's Ryan Fulton will be carrying the memory of his father and grandparents with him on the second stage of a 2200-kilometre ocean paddle from the Gold Coast to Melbourne.

Mr Fulton arrived back in his home town on Sunday, two weeks after leaving the Gold Coast astride a stand-up paddle board with the hope of raising $100,000 for the Heart Foundation.

He aims to complete the Wollongong-Melbourne leg of his journey by December 7.

He had planned to leave yesterday morning, hoping to make it as far as Gerringong in a day's paddle, but choppy seas and a southerly headwind turned yesterday into a much-needed rest day.

The 28-year-old, who went to Illawarra Sports High at Berkeley, did not even own a paddle board two months ago and says he's "not an athlete".

But he has managed to cover 50 to 60 kilometres a day, spending up to 14 hours on the water before coming ashore to eat and sleep.

Mr Fulton said the trip had been incident-free, aside from losing his mobile phone to the depths of the ocean on day one while trying to photograph a nearby breaching whale.

"Luckily that's been my only mishap to date."

He said he was motivated to attempt the unusual journey after seeing the effects of heart-related disease on family members.

"Sadly, I lost my father to a sudden heart attack three years ago and my grandparents died of heart disease last year," he said.

"I am hoping this paddle will help raise funds and awareness for the Heart Foundation to support those who have been touched by cardiovascular diseases."

Mr Fulton has raised $5000 so far, but said he hoped some of his Illawarra friends would dig deep.

To keep up to date on Mr Fulton's journey, log on to Ryan's Paddle For Prevention on Facebook, or visit http://www.everydayhero.com.au/ryan_fulton to make a donation.


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