An Interview with the rowers!
The boys agreed to meet up with Ewan and I for a chat at the Island Street Bar and Grill. Both were keen to have a beer and talk about their adventures… We did ask them if they were now super lightweights with their alcohol but both assured us they just feel drunk all the time now with the adrenaline of being home.
We did spot that the first thing they had to eat when they arrived was fabulously British fish and chips… And then Lawrence had to pizzas.
Tell us about what you’ve done?
Tom: We’ve rowed from New York to Salcombe to raise money for the Brain Tumor trust foundation as my dad passed away from it. We rowed the whole journey taking it in turns doing two hour shifts
Lawrence: it was meant to take two months, that’s how much time I took off work, however it’s took three, sorry work!
Has anyone ever done anything like this before?
Tom: 15 boats have but we’re the youngest. There was a guy who did it who was younger but he did it on his own, he was solo, but for a team to work together it’s quite difficult. I would do it again instantly.
Have you ever done anything like this before?
Tom: I’m not a specialist rower but I rowed a bit at uni.
Lawrence: neither of us row, I’d been for a couple of weekends here in Salcombe with Tom
You’ve got two world records out of this haven’t you?
Tom: Yes, most distance rowed in twenty four hours and youngest team to row the Atlantic. But the awards don’t really mean much for me, the adventure means so much more.
Lawrence: The records have no resemblance to everything else that went on, it was so much more than that.
Lawrence, you weren’t originally meant to be doing this were you, what happened with that?
Lawrence: haha no one expected me to come this far, but yeah Tom’s mate Sam was going to do it but he injured his back. I was skiing in the Alps over Easter and he called me up and said do I fancy doing some rowing and I was like yeah that sounds good. I called work, got some time off, flew out to New York two weeks later, had six days there
Tom: he literally flew in, had no time whatsoever, did a couple of 4 hour sessions
Lawrence: we got the boat on Wednesday and left on Sunday.
Are you going to get a hair/ beard cut?
Tom: why, what’s wrong with it? Haha no I quite like the hair, the beard went straight away.
You’re both looking quite tanned after your adventures.
Lawrence: to be honest we had no sun except for the first few days
Tom: I was covered up like hell cause I didn’t want to get burnt cause I know what it’s like being ginger and Loz was out there power tanning
Lawrence: haha but then you got sun stroke!
How did you cope with bad weather?
Tom: the wind was so bad for the whole trip, if you look at our tracking we don’t go straight
Lawrence: And we got caught in a current for a week
Tom: There were weeks where we just couldn’t do anything
How did you cope with the storms and possibility of capsizing?
Tom: capsizing isn’t a problem at all, the boat just flips back over.
Lawrence: we just harness ourself in and wait the storm out
Tom: there was one point when I thought the storm was over and then suddenly a huge wave came over and I got knocked over smash against the wall.
Lawrence: he had the control panel indented into his face haha.
Did you see anyone else for those three months?
Lawrence: we saw two yachts, and we’d call them up in the radio and say like hi yeah we’re British can you tell us what’s number one in the charts, what’s the football scores and they were always Phillipino or Russian and would be like what do you want, do you need help, we would be like no we just want to chat mate.
Tom: we got to speak to an Indian when we were three weeks away and we were chatting away to him on the VHS radio who was hilarious.
Lawrence: stuff like that just keeps you going.
Did you guys argue at any point?
Lawrence: there was one point in new york when we were packing and Tim wanted to put the m&ms with the nuts and I didn’t want to risk contamination haha, that as literally the extent of our arguments.
Tom, you won young Brits and we’re now coming to the semi finals of this year’s competition, what advice would you give to the semi finalists?
Tom: Applying to be a young Brit was really difficult as I don’t have any qualifications or awards in my field, I applied because of the expedition I was planning on doing. So I decided to change the tactic and talked about how I feel about adventure and the trip I was planning on taking. I’m not doing this for awards or qualifications, I’m doing this for a love of adventure, I didn’t do this to win a medal and they seemed to like that. Also I loved making my video, I absolutely love editing footage and I’m really into whitewater kayaking so my video was lots of that, except at the beginning when it’s me kissing my biceps! My advice would be, don’t force it. I saw a video of someone begging for people to vote for him and showing off and that’s the wrong tactic, without being really cringe it needs to come from the heart.