A KAYAKER is gearing up to smash a world record by crossing the English Channel in just over three hours.
Ian Tordoff got the go-ahead by the Channel Crossing Association to attempt the feat in May.
The 35-year-old, from Huntington in Chester, hopes 18 months of training will pay off and that he will beat the current three hour and 33 minute record by 20 minutes.
Mr Tordoff, a sports development officer at Chester City Council, said: "I am very excited about this, but a little apprehensive about the bid at the same time.
" I feel fit enough to do it, but I won't be able to see land for most of the journey, and that will be very mentally challenging."
Mr Tordoff is looking for sponsors to help him to raise the £2,500 needed for the attempt and to raise some extra money for the British Heart Association.
He will set off from Folkestone in Kent and paddle 33km across the sea in a newly-designed kayak, built by Valley Canoe, until he reaches Cap Gris Nez in France.
The date given to him by the Channel Crossing Association is May 18 and, in the event of bad weather, May 19.
But Mr Tordoff knows that choppy seas or too much rain will mean he has to abort the mission and wait another date.
The Channel Crossing Association lays down the rules and requirements for all record attempts across the sea.
One of these requirements is the support of a registered pilot vessel to escort Mr Tordoff safely across the busy shipping lane.
Mr Tordoff said: "We have to hope and pray that the weather is good. Calm seas will mean that I can get across much faster.
"Hopefully, it won't be very busy either. The rules mean I have to give way to or go round any ships or vessels in my path and that could really hold me up."
As a former member of the Great Britain Team for 19 years, winning nine National Championships and winning a string of world championship medals, Mr Tordoff is confident he will complete the task.
He added: "Recently I have moved away from international competition and have set my sights on personal goals for kayaking.
"Having read about the current record in 2003, the last 18 months I have been testing myself with a view to setting a new time for the crossing and, in doing so, aim to significantly reduce the record."
* IF YOU would like to sponsor Mr Tordoff's record attempt, email Ian Tordoff firstname.lastname@example.org