Jersey Clipper Bursary Goes To Top CI Paddleboarder
Published 08:42 on 23 May 2022
A Police detective who is also the Channel Islands top female paddleboarder has been awarded the 16th annual Jersey Clipper Bursary, worth £1,000.
Verity Thomas only took up recreational stand-up paddleboarding (known as SUP) to lose weight but the 39-year-old is now ranked as the No.1 female SUP racer in the Channel Islands and plans to use the bursary to compete in international competitions in Europe and the Caribbean.
This years runners-up award of £500 has gone to young sailor Luke Paxton-Garnier who will use the money to fund dinghy instructor training and to continue his work as a volunteer with the Tall Ships Youth Trust.
Jersey-born Verity, who was educated at the Jersey College for Girls, joined the States of Jersey Police as a constable in 2008 and is currently a detective working in the Public Protection Unit.
I took up paddleboarding in 2012 to lose weight after giving birth to my son the previous year. In 2015 I was introduced to SUP racing and immediately fell in love with it I've been competing ever since.
I took part in National, European and international events between 2016 and 2019, making the podium on a few occasions. Locally, I was the first female to circumnavigate Jersey on a paddleboard as part of the Jersey Round Island Challenge and Ive also won the El Tico Heritage Race a number of times.
With the pandemic affecting the sport I took on a challenge to paddle to the Ecréhous, which I completed in May 2021, and Im currently the only person to have done this.
Verity was able to return to racing last September, coming 4th overall in the British 200m Sprints the only competitor to make the final on an inflatable board.
She now plans to use the Jersey Clipper Bursary to help fund her travel and entry fees for the European Surf Federations EuroSup in Denmark, the International Canoe Federation World Championships in Poland and the International Surf Association Paddleboard & SUP World Championships in Puerto Rico.
De La Salle pupil Luke (15), who currently sails Hobie 16 catamarans with the Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club and Laser dinghies with the St Catherines Sailing Club, will be heading to Catalunya in Spain later this year to compete in the Hobie Worlds.
He has recently returned from two trips with the Tall Ships Youth Trust where he volunteered as a Watch Assistant.
These trips enabled me to improve my skills as a sailor and work as part of a team, said Luke. The bursary award will help me to continue my volunteering with the trust which allows other children, who may not be as privileged as I am, to get the chance to experience life as crew on a yacht.
It will also help me to complete my dinghy instructor training this summer in order to teach sailing at both RCIYC and SCSC.
The annual Jersey Clipper Bursary, a legacy from the Islands three campaigns in the Clipper Round-the-World Race, was established in 2007 through the generosity of UBS, Dandara and Les Pas Holdings.