British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite, who we first told you about back in July, has successfully completed his attempt to stand-up paddle the length of the Mississippi River, setting a new distance record in the process. Cornthwaite finished his journey last week when he paddled into the Gulf of Mexico, 82 days after he first hit the river.
Dave’s journey began in Lake Itasca, located in northern Minnesota, on June 19th. From there, he navigated out onto the river itself and started his voyage south, knowing that he had more than 2400 miles to cover before he reached his ultimate destination – the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way, he faced some major challenges, including oppressive summer heat, swarms of mosquitoes, snakes, alligators, and a little tropical storm named Lee. As he neared his finish, he was also forced to contend with large ships and barges, which is not easy on a stand-up paddleboard.
Stand-up paddling is a sport that is quickly growing in popularity. Participants stand on a flat, narrow watercraft that is not unlike a surfboard and use a long canoe paddle to propel themselves through the water. In Dave’s case, the board was large enough to carry his travel and camping gear as well, allowing him to travel self-supported for days at a time. It is estimated that it took him 1.3 million strokes and 485 hours of paddling to complete the journey, which officially came in at 2404 miles in length.
With this adventure now over, Dave has already returned home to the U.K. where he is busy plotting his next expedition. The Mississippi paddle was the fourth stage of his Expedition 1000 project, during which he will be conducting 25 separate non-motorized journeys of 1000 miles in length or longer. He has already crossed Australia on a skateboard, kayaked that country’s Murray River, and ridden a tandem bike from Vancouver to Las Vegas. In the future, he plans to ride across Mongolia on horseback, paraglide through the Himalaya, and ski to the South Pole, amongst other things. Along the way, he hopes to raise £1 million ($1.5 million) for charity.
[Photo courtesy: Dave Cornthwaite]