Outside Edge: Full steam ahead with paddle

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The Independent Online

Bart de Zwart is believed to have become the first person to make a solo crossing from Hawaii's Big Island to Kauai on a paddleboard.

The 41-year-old Dutchman was inspired by the simple canoes that the ancient inhabitants used to travel between the islands. He spent five days on his 14ft board, making an estimated 215,000 strokes to cover the 300 miles, and slept on two inflatable mattresses glued together to make a paddling pool which he strapped to the craft. It's not exactly sailing, but two men drifting off Delray Beach in Florida after their boat broke down must have been relieved when Timothy Pooler came to their rescue. But he had had a few drinks and proceeded to tow them around in circles all night long until he ran out of fuel. He borrowed petrol off the men but ran out again, by which time they had repaired their boat. They returned to shore and left the 63-year-old behind. He may still be in the drink.


The additional number of seconds male footballers spend writhing around on the ground after being fouled compared with their female counterparts, according to Professor Martin Lames's study in Munich. This is because men want to be the centre of attention. Miniskirts and high heels next, then.

The women are keen as mustard

Tomorrow marks a historic moment for the famous Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest on Coney Island, New York. For the first time in its 95-year-history, an organisation called Major League Eating have decreed women should have their own contest and compete for the same $10,000 prize money as the men. Watch out for Sonia "The Black Widow" Thomas, who stands 5ft 5in tall and weighs seven-and-a-half stone. She came fourth in last year's mixed contest after downing 36 hot dogs. Just to show how the world's superpowers have different perspectives, China celebrated the 90th birthday of the Communist Party by holding the Communist Olympics in Qingyang. The Games featured unusual activities such as grenade-throwing, carrying (fake) live explosives across assault courses and "storming the blockhouse". What a party that was.

Good week

Aaron Cook, the British world No 1 taekwondo fighter, styled as a Power Ranger (complete with packaging), his childhood inspiration, at a shopping centre in London.

Gloucestershire recorded the highest domestic Twenty20 score, 254 for 3, against Middlesex – just a six-hit short of the world record of 260 for 6 by Sri Lanka against Kenya in 2007.

Eloise Leonard, 10, won the 100m race at her sports day in Chelmsford, then chased down two handbag thieves on her way home from school with her parents.

Bad week

River Plate, 33 times champions of Argentina, were relegated from the the top flight for the first time in their 110-year history, causing riots in the Belgrano neighbourhood of Buenos Aires.

Vasik Rajlich, international master and designer of Rybka, which has won the last four International Computer Chess Championships, was found to have plagiarised two earlier programs, and stripped of his titles and banned for life.

Bishop's Castle stone-skimming competitors in Shropshire have been told they are no longer allowed to use their own stones.

Mountain guide Travis is a rising star

Scott Cunningham has become the first blind man to climb Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in the British Isles. He had a special friend to help him up, his guide dog Travis, who has won the Outstanding Work category in the Guide Dog of the Year awards. The 40-year-old tax officer from Larkhall in Lanarkshire has been partnered with Travis since 2003, and the pair have walked the 95-mile West Highland Way three times – in both directions – as well as the Pennine Way. In Bath, a rare-breed horse called Mary Anne has become the first equine patient to undergo cataract surgery. She was born blind and vets said she should be put down, but she can now see 10 metres in front of her and is running around like crazy. And cats don't normally like water but at St Issey in Cornwall a tabby called Mog, whose front legs were paralysed after he was hit by a car, has learnt to walk again after taking swimming lessons for 10 weeks. He had to start from scratch.