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Phuketian to paddle Mekong

PHUKET: Living free is the philosophy of French water sports expert Patrick Gasiglia, who is set to paddle 1,000 kilometres on a stand-up paddle board in September, down a section of the Mekong River that straddles the Thai-Laotian border.

Friday 24 February 2012, 03:04PM


A resident of Phuket for more than 20 years, Mr Gasiglia first discovered this island on a world tour in 1991. “This place is paradise,” said Mr Gasiglia, recalling his impression of the island at the time.


He said his travel around the world was an escape from social expectation for him to get “a real job”, after spending his life until then as a beach boy in Cannes in France, teaching water sports.


Before taking off to see the world, he started a job as a manager in a sports store. But he quit after six months, describing the work as unbearable.


So he instead headed across the continents, from Paris to Honolulu, Tokyo to Bangkok and Phuket.


Although he continued to India, the traveller returned to Phuket, and now enjoys a life in which he has ample time to pursue his busy activities on water, whether they be on a jet-ski, Hobie Cat (a small catamaran), wake board or stand-up paddle board.


Long sea adventures have always been part of his intrepid life. He achieved a world record in 1999 by jet-skiing a staggering 360 kilometres from Cannes to Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea.


This September will see the watery adventurer attempt another world record by paddling for three or four weeks down the Mekong River on a stand-up paddle board.


Mr Gasiglia says he feels alone when paddling on this board, but that it’s part of the freedom he seeks.


For more information and sponsorship for his Mekong journey, call 087-888-8244, email bambou53@hotmail.com, or visit supmekong1000.wordpress.com

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