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
‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people
On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.
From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.
The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.
One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.
There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.
This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.
This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.
The world’s fastest growing tourist destinations
PHOTO: Hello Phuket – destined for huge tourist growth in the next six years – fodors.com
In 2018, international tourist arrival traffic grew by 6% to reach a total of 1.4 billion world tourists, according to research by UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. And there’s a lot more to come with international travel predicted to increase by a massive 35% over the next six years to 2025.
But where is all that extra traffic going to go? Which destinations are quiet now that might be swarming with tourists in the years to come? Two destinations in Thailand are set for a prosperous future, according to the data. Whilst almost all the growth is excepted to be to Asian destinations, an under-visited resource for world tourism so far.
Euromonitor data has been used to simulate tourist growth models and reveal the fastest growing projected visitor arrivals in major cities and destinations around the world for 2025, compared to arrival figures in 2018.
In Thailand, Phuket’s tourist traffic is poised to increase up to 85% in the next six years, from nearly 12 million arrivals in 2018 to over 22 million in 2025. Bangkok is predicted to see the 8th most prolific rise in tourist traffic, with arrivals in Bangkok set to swell an additional 68% during the same period. Doha, the capital of Qatar, is set to explode with 104% increase in traffic over the next six years.
The data also predicts that both Bangkok and Phuket will rebound big time in 2020, Phuket in particular with a growth of around 20% for the next year, accord to the data from TravelSupermarket.com.
By 2025 the data predicts that Bangkok will be the world’s #1 tourist destination, a position it’s held before in recent years. The Thai capital will be followed by Singapore, Dubai, Phuket and Kuala Lumpur, making South East Asia the world’s emerging tourism hotspot.
Some of the world’s favourites – New York, Paris, London – will continue to grow their tourist numbers but not at the rate of most Asian destinations.
You can read the full list HERE.
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Stats compiled by travelsupermarket.com
Rawai beachfront water shut-off tomorrow for mains works
The Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority says Rawai’s mains water supply will be shut off tomorrow (Tuesday, October 15) as new water pipes are fitted in front of The Title Beach Front condo resort complex on the town’s beachfront.
The mains water supply will be shut off from 9am until 4:30pm along the beachfront strip.
The PWA says the areas affected will be along Wiset Road along the Rawai beachfront road, as well as Soi Yanui and Soi Ruafaed.
Residents and businesses are being urged to collect water for use during the day today, before tomorrow morning’s shut-off.
As usual, the PWA say…“We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
Contact the Phuket Provincial Waterworks Authority on 076 319173 or 082 7901634 for more details.
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