The man who can travel faster in a bath than anyone else on the planet is challenging all-comers to break his world record in North Wales.
Current holder Tony Bain will be cheering contestants on from the sidelines at the All Wales Boat Show, which runs in Conwy from May 30-June1.
Up for grabs is a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The New Zealander attended last year’s inaugural event and loved the area so much that he’s decided to move lock, stock and barrel to Conwy.
Tony said: “I won’t be entering this year. I want someone else to take on the mantle of the world record title. I want others to feel the joy!”
Anyone is welcome to go along to the All Wales Boat Show and have a go. The race itself will be held on Sunday, June 1, but Tony says there will certainly be time for competitors to get some practice in beforehand. He believes even complete beginners are in with a chance of smashing the world title time of 1minute 26:41 seconds he set last August and which now has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Amazingly Tony had never done much bath-tubbing – like kayaking in a bath – before he completed the 50 metres course across Conwy marina last year.
“Most people fall out on the first attempt at bath-tub racing, but that just seems to spur them on because on the second go, all of a sudden they’re off,” said Tony, who this spring moves his Green Dragon Activities outdoor pursuits business to a new base in Conwy Marina after several years in Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid-Wales.
“We’re looking forward to the move. We’ve had some great years in Llanwrtyd but there’s such a lot going on here in Conwy, especially with it being home to the All Wales Boat Show, and it will give us more scope for water-themed activities,” said Tony, a lifelong sports enthusiast and instructor.
As well as traditional sports such as mountain biking, hiking and Nordic walking, his company offers people the chance to try their hand at a range of other offbeat activities, including mud-wrestling, wheelie-bin paddling and Akwakats – kayaks powered by bikes on rivers and canals.
It was Tony who first came up with the madcap idea of introducing bath-tub racing to Wales.
“It was something a bit different and quirky. Though I’d never done any bath-tubbing myself before I knew it was popular back home. A New Year race in Auckland is always very popular. I know of one event which attracted 79 entrants so we’re hoping for just as big a turnout here in Conwy this summer.”
A fundraising bath-tub race was held to support communities in earthquake-hit Christchurch, New Zealand, while here in Britain TV personalities Rory McGraff and Will Mellor took part in a heat of the world championships in Cardiff while filming for their Channel Five TV series Champions of the World.
Tony said: “When we first started I had no idea bath-tubbing would be such a hit in Wales but not long after our first race, we were approached by the Guinness Book of Records about organising the world championships. There are now heats all around the globe.”
But he was taken completely by surprise when he himself secured the world-beating crown last year. He said: “I only entered as a laugh and to join in the fun. I never thought I’d set a world record time. It was a complete fluke”.
He intends to bow out gracefully this year, but he is hoping the world record will still come back to Conwy.
“That’s why I’m encouraging as many people as possible to have a go. It’s all a bit tongue-in-cheek, I know, but nevertheless my competitive spirit still wants one of the entrants at our spectacular All Wales Boat Show to bring back that trophy and keep it in its rightful home,” he said.
The event has a time trial format with contestants racing from shore to a buoy in the marina and back again. The winner receives a trophy in the shape of a tap on a gold chain.
It will be just one of the many crowd-pullers over the three days of the All Wales Boat Show, a bumper celebration of Welsh coast life.
A range of craft will be showcased against the stunning backcloth of the Conwy estuary and Snowdonia mountains.
Boats and marine equipment will be for sale, while other attractions lined up include a sailing simulator, boat handling demonstrations, wakeboarding and water sports, Conwy harbour cruises, marine careers information, yachting taster sessions, arts and crafts exhibitions and a tempting menu of refreshing food and drink.
Winner of the woman’s open championship was 47-year-old Wendy McGee, of Llandudno Junction, who paddled her tub over the 100-metre course in a time of 1 minute 45 seconds to claim the coveted prize of a hot tap on a gold chain.
Winner of the separate juniors’ time trial was 11-year-old Mia Hitchens, of Holywell, whose prize was a bottle of bath bubbles.