Connect with us

Phuket

Video Report: Haze doesn’t hamper Aussie’s fight against child abuse

Published

 on 

PHUKET: As part of his battle against child abuse, Damien Rider successfully circumnavigated Phuket on his standup paddle board (SUP), despite the dense Indonesian haze leaving him lost at sea earlier this month.

Mr Rider, a victim of child abuse, first caught the media’s attention with Paddle Against Child Abuse (PACA) when he completed an 800 kilometer prone paddle through the shark infested waters of the Gold Coast to Bondi Beach.

Though not as dramatic as being knocked from his board by a great white shark, Mr Rider faced a number of different challenges as he paddled around Phuket.

“Definitely the most challenging part was absolutely not knowing where to go. When that haze came in, I didn’t know what I was aiming for,” Mr Rider said.

“The haze was definitely a massive factor. I got lost at sea twice for about an hour. I couldn’t see land at all, not at all.

“It was kind of eerie when I was out there, because I’d start hearing these things and the water was making these noises and I was just waiting for some monster to come out of the mist.”

Mr Rider navigated during the trip by going from headland to headland. A single navigational error would more than double the distance he was forced to paddle as he went around islands on Phuket’s calm east coast and was occasionally lured into bays that he then had to paddle back out of.

The community that Mr Rider has found at Phuket Cleanse and in the southern end of Phuket, as well as his own mental space following a new-found pride in himself, set the stage for a very different game during the paddle.

“It was completely different than my last paddle. Last paddle, there were a lot of hidden demons in my head and emotional baggage that I had to get through,” Mr Rider said. “It was good for me to see that all that was gone and my PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] was gone. There wasn’t one time that I had a negative thought about my past or anything out there.”

Mr Rider’s childhood was filled with abuse from the age of six onward. He regularly attempted to flee it: sleeping in rock caves and under jetties – anywhere that he could escape to.

However, during this paddle, his time was eaten up with thoughts on navigation, looking at the stunning landscape as it appeared from behind the haze, listening to the sound of the water on his board and planning on how to ration his water and food.

Over the four days it took Mr Rider to circumnavigate the island, he spent a total of about 26 hours on the board.

“It was a lot easier than I thought it would be. All the training leading up to the event definitely made a difference. And all that’s down to Phuket Cleanse making it easy for me,” Mr Rider said.

Now, Mr Rider is hooked on Phuket.

“I only came here for a month to do the training. Do this event, go back to Australia to do another event. But I’ve found that that it’s a really good base for training for me, or anyone really, especially around Rawai.

“There are a lot of people here for the same reason: to get healthy and train – it’s that fit, healthy lifestyle.

“Everyone has been so hospitable to me, which is good as well, because as an athlete doing an individual sport, it can get quite lonely if you are doing everything by yourself. Here, I’ve been able to surround myself with like-minded people.”

Since his arrival on Phuket, Mr Rider has become a role model to many youngsters and adults on the island. During his stay, he has visited a number of schools to talk about his personal experiences with child abuse.

“I’m just a regular guy having a go at trying to change a situation that I have experienced. People don’t have to paddle all kinds of stupid distances to make a difference,” Mr Rider said. “Dedicate something you are passionate about each day to the victims of child abuse. You don’t have to announce it. Just start within yourself.”

— Isaac Stone Simonelli

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand2 hours ago

Woman goes bananas after children steal her fruit and sues them for 24,000 baht

China2 hours ago

China says Covid has weakened as it announces loosening of strict policies

Thailand2 hours ago

Dog carries baby’s corpse out of a forest in eastern Thailand

Sponsored1 day ago

Top 5 Backlink Agencies in Bangkok for Your Business

Events3 hours ago

Travis Scott to headline Rolling Loud Thailand festival

Thailand3 hours ago

9 year old boy rescued after falling into 2-metre deep well

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sexy Thai model exposed as an identity thief and transwoman

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
South3 hours ago

Whale washes up on beach in South Thailand

Transport4 hours ago

Last jumbo – the last Boeing 747 leaves the gate

Weather4 hours ago

Bangkok could hit lows of 18°C next week

Thailand4 hours ago

Geminids meteor shower predicted to hit Thailand on December 14 

Crime4 hours ago

Kuwaiti overstayer busted in Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

Thailand4 hours ago

What next for Bali as Indonesia bans sex?

Thailand4 hours ago

Jailed politician erects billboard to wish voters Happy New Year

Thailand5 hours ago

Beastly reptile crocs the world of small village in southern Thailand

Pattaya5 hours ago

Pattaya officials continue to struggle with homeless problem

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending