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Do Something Epic: Crossing an Ocean for Cystic Fibrosis

Jenny Buckley |

After suffering a collapsed lung on the morning I was supposed to be going on holiday back in 2017, I sat alone in my hospital bed in complete darkness that same night, worried it was the beginning of the end.

My name is Marc Cotterill, I am 42 years old and I was born with a genetic, chronic illness called Cystic Fibrosis (CF), and if I were to sum up my experience of living with CF, despite all the horrible challenges I have faced over the years, I would keep it really simple and say:

I am one of the lucky ones.

I grew up in a world that told me I would be lucky to reach my tenth birthday. The older I grew, sure enough, the worse my symptoms became and when I somehow reached adulthood, my lungs were just 30% effective.

Some say that if you hold your nose and breathe through a straw you get some sense of what it’s like to breathe with CF. But of course, after a few breaths people get tired, they put the straw down in order to catch their breath and they carry on with life.

Unfortunately, people with CF can’t ‘put the straw down’. And in fact, due to the progressive nature of the condition, the longer we’re lucky enough to live, regrettably, the narrower our ‘straw’ becomes.

After suffering a collapsed lung on the morning I was supposed to be going on holiday back in 2017, I sat alone in my hospital bed in complete darkness that same night, worried it was the beginning of the end, but I said to myself ‘this can’t be it!’. It was a promise rather than a question. I simply wasn’t prepared to give up hope.

Then in 2020, overnight, everything changed.

Thanks to a revolutionary new Cystic Fibrosis treatment – a ‘wonder drug’ called Trikafta that was made available in the UK, my health was transformed, and I’ve gone from collapsed damaged lungs to preparing for a SUP challenge of a lifetime. I meant it when I said:

I am one of the lucky ones.

It’s my belief that if you experience good fortune, you should pass it on. Sadly, there are thousands of people in over 150 countries worldwide who don’t have access to the drug that saved my life, and at the beginning of 2023, whilst writing down my goals for the year ahead, I promised to help the global Cystic Fibrosis community in their quest to gain access.

I had one simple rule: Do something epic.

This summer, I’m gearing up to embark on a journey of a lifetime, one that promises to be the most significant and exhilarating challenge I’ve ever faced.

Along with three close friends, I will be paddleboarding 80 miles from Bimini in the Bahamas all the way back to mainland Florida, through the night. I’m doing it to demonstrate the power of Trikafta, and to raise funds  to support the global CFF community that desperately needs access to it.

I recently released my campaign video on social media and it received a wave of support and donations from the CF community and beyond.

We’re in the thick of training right now, getting out onto the water as much as possible on our Bluefin Sprint Carbon boards to give us the best possible chance to be ready for the big event. But whatever happens between now and then, and no matter how anxious or daunting this event seems on the run-up, when the clock strikes midnight on the 25th of June 2023, as I stand on the beach staring out across the vast ocean in complete darkness, I will forget everything else and remember that one moment in the hospital back in 2017.

No fear, gratitude.

No hesitation, commitment.

No looking back, only ahead.

One simple rule: DO SOMETHING EPIC 💛🦈


To support Marc and the team, learn more about the new Cystic Fibrosis drug Trikafta and the organisations involved in this event, please visit his fundraising page.