Menai Challenge Info - 2017

The Menai Challenge is an Unsupervised Standing Challenge. Paddlers are entirely responsible for their own safety and welfare whilst attempting or preparing for the Menai Challenge.

The Menai Challenge is a self-timed, informal Time Trial set in the Menai Straits. Take a run and send us the time, we'll put it on the PSK website.

There are two courses to choose from:
The Legacy course is a loop run from Menai Bridge, with turn points at Brittania Bridge and the Bangor Pier Buoy, involving two runs through the Swellies.

The Challenge course is shorter but more technically challenging. Strating in Menai Bridge it loops around Brittania Bridge and Gored Goch island - 4 runs through the Swellies! Only if you're 'ard enough...

Safety Note

We suggest all paddlers undertake a site specific risk assessment before paddling, and continue a dynamic risk assessment whilst on the water. All paddlers should carry relevant safety equipment; suggestions include: waterproofed mobile phone, VHF radio, flares, spare warm clothing, exposure bag, first aid kit, spare paddles etc. The final choice is down to you.
Paddlers should be well versed and competent in self rescue techniques and open/moving water paddling; solo paddling is most strongly not recommended. Participants must wear a CE approved personal flotation device (PFD) and paddling clothing relevant to the anticipated conditions.

Beware of other water users and obstacles within the Straits. There are numerous buoys, moored craft and markers/perches/posts - all of which could result in serious harm if you get too close. Give them all a very wide berth. The fast flow means that you will close surprisingly rapidly on any obstacles. Be aware that some parts of the course can be exposed to wind and wave. Spraydecks and PFD's must be worn at all times.

The Swellies is a mile long stretch of fast moving and turbulent rough water, it is not an area for novice paddlers or those inexperienced in moving water.

It is recommended to notify Holyhead Coastguard (01407 762051) and/or a shore contact before you set out.

(See also PSK Safety Info Page)


A number of trees have fallen between the bridges on the Bangor shore, they lie in the water in places. Please give all trees a very wide berth, consider paddling along the Anglesey shore as an alternative.


The courses can be run in either direction. It is left to the paddler to decide the best direction, route and tide to use. The Menai Challenge can be undertaken on whichever day or tide the paddler considers safe and suitable.

The challenge is self-timed by the paddler; the clock starts when you leave the start line and stops when you cross the finish line (see Course Info above). Times are submitted by the individual and should be backed up with a GPS track file if possible.

Please time using a stopwatch (down to seconds). If any times draw on the same minute,  times submitted without seconds will be rounded up to the next whole minute.

Send your details to PSK: Here

Please tell us your:
  • Name
  • Gender
  • Age (if you want)
  • Boat Model/Manufacturer
  • Club/Organisation
  • Date
  • Start Time
  • Time Taken


K1(Single Sea Kayaks or Ocean Skis) or K2 (Double sea kayaks or Ocean Skis). There are no time allowances for differing boat design, length, construction, colour, weather, lack of training or any other excuse. Crack on and don’t be a wuss.

Suitable Craft:

The Menai Challenge is open to paddlers of purpose built sea kayaks or purpose built ocean skis. No times will be accepted for persons paddling craft other than those specifically designed for use in open ocean paddling. Craft should be designed to be unsinkable through the inclusion of permanent water-tight dry compartments within the original design. The fitting of toggles/grab handles and additional buoyancy (air bags etc) is strongly recommended. There are no length restrictions in either class. Craft may only be propelled with paddles - no sails, motors, outboards etc! Wash-hanging of other participating eligible craft is allowed.

Note: The Menai Straits has numerous areas of rocky shallows and plenty of weed - beware if paddling with a fixed understern rudder!

Paddlers are entirely responsible for their own safety and welfare whilst attempting or preparing for the Menai Challenge.

MC 2017 Top 5

Legacy Course

1 John Willacy
00:56:29 -- 03-Mar-17
2 John Willacy
00:56:29 -- 18-Apr-17
3 John Willacy
00:56:30 -- 17-Jul-17
4 Dan McGonigle
00:57:24 -- 22-Mar-17
5 John Willacy
00:57:46 -- 14-Sep-17
Showing Legacy Top 5 of 42 times.

Challenge Course

1 John Willacy
00:47:02 -- 23-Jan-17
2 John Willacy
00:47:57 -- 09-Jul-17
3 Jeff Parker
00:48:08 -- 01-Sep-17
4 John Willacy
00:48:12 -- 17-May-17
5 John Willacy
00:50:17 -- 23-Jan-17
Showing Challenge Top 5 of 11 times.

MC 2017 SUP Top 5

Legacy Course - SUP

1 Chris Thorne
01:15:46 -- 16-Sep-17
Showing Legacy Top 5 of 1 times.

Challenge Course - SUP

1 Chris Thorne
00:57:01 -- 13-Nov-17
2 Chris Thorne
00:59:08 -- 31-May-17
3 Chris Thorne
01:01:30 -- 17-Apr-17
4 Chris Thorne
01:04:11 -- 09-Jul-17
5 Chris Thorne
01:07:46 -- 01-Apr-17
Showing Challenge Top 5 of 7 times.

2017 Results