A young lifeguard from west Cork is attempting to circumnavigate Ireland on a paddle board. 

Nathan Holding hopes to complete the epic 1,650km challenge on his 12ft board in just under 60 days. 

The 20-year-old left Inchydoney just over a week ago and so far he has covered over 180km, arriving in the west Kerry fishing village of Baile na nGall last night. 

The Clonakilty man, who is accompanied by a support boat, aims to paddle up to 30kms a day. He spends between six and seven hours a day lying down on the carbon fibre paddle-board. 

"I’m paddle-boarding in a prone position, on my belly, which can be quite uncomfortable. It’s not a natural position for the body and your ribs can get quite sore." 

"It’s an unbelievable way to experience the ocean. You are right down at eye-level with the sea and you can sense every move and throw she makes. You kind of feel vulnerable but it is also exhilarating."

"After four or five hours of intense paddling the body can start to shut down, so the main thing is to keep hydrated and get some proper nutrition to maintain energy levels." 

Last night, Nathan paddled from Dingle to Baile na nGall, where he passed through the treacherous Blasket Sound.

Nathan Holding

"It was really, really rough. Coming through the narrow passage of the Seanduine rock and Dún Mór Head the waves were nearly cresting. Thankfully it calmed down after that but I was exhausted."

The arduous challenge is being undertaken in an effort to raise money for the Irish Cancer Society.

"My best friend, Caimin, lost his mum to cancer last year. She was a wonderful woman. Everybody has been affected by cancer in some way, including my own family, and I just want to do something that might help in a small way."

Nathan has a dedicated team assisting him in his endeavour, including his parents and support boat skipper Jamie O’Mahony.

Two days ago the challenge ran in to difficulties when the engine in the support boat failed and the team had to be towed to harbour by the Valentia Lifeboat.

However a local sailor, Pat Lawless, offered to support Nathan yesterday in his 36ft sailboat. 

"He’s a tough young fella. I’m really surprised by how fast he can go on that little board. He was knocking up to four knots out of it there coming through the Sound. He came through fairly nasty water there and it was no bother to him at all, at all. He’s hardy out," said Mr Lawless.

Nathan is seeking the assistance of volunteer boatmen and fishermen in providing him with a support boat for the next few days while his own boat is being repaired. 

Nathan’s challenge can be followed and supported on paddleireland4cancer.com.