Stand up paddling the length of the Mississippi River

Stand up paddling the length of the Mississippi RiverAt more than 2400 miles in length, the mighty Mississippi is one of the longest rivers in North America. The iconic waterway, which has become an indelible part of American folklore, stretches from northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, passing through the heart of the nation in the process. Over the years, the muddy waters of the Mississippi have been explored by every kind of watercraft from steamboat and simple river raft to kayaks and modern motorboats. Now, British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite is attempting to become the latest person to travel the length of the river from source to sea, but he’s doing it on a stand up paddle board.

In recent years, stand up paddling (SUP) has become a popular activity amongst outdoor enthusiasts looking to spend some time on their local rivers, lakes, or even ocean. The sport is a combination of surfing and paddling, that has participants standing on a surfboard while using an oar to help maneuver and generate forward momentum. Most stand up paddlers restrict themselves to relatively calm bodies of water, but the more skilled athletes have taken to challenging themselves on big waves and wild rapids.

Back in early June, Cornthwaite traveled to the headwaters of the Mississippi located at Lake Itasca, and started his southward journey. By last week he had arrived in Minneapolis, having already covered approximately 500 miles. That leaves him with more than 1900 miles yet to go, and he expects that it will take him well into September before he reaches the finish line in New Orleans, where the river enters into the Gulf at last.

This stand up paddle adventure is just the latest long distance journey that Cornthwaite has undertaken. He has already traveled from Vancouver to Las Vegas on a tandem bike and kayaked Australia’s Murry River – a distance of nearly 1480 miles. Even more impressive, he once went 3618 miles coast-to-coast across Australia using only a skateboard. All of these trips are part of his Expedition 1000 project, during which he hopes to complete 25 unique journeys of at least a 1000 miles in length, while only using non-motorized forms of transportation. Along the way he also hopes to raise £1 million ($1.5 million) for charity.

So what’s it like for Dave while he’s out on the water? Check out the video below for an idea.




[Photo courtesy of Dave Cornthwaite]