The starting point – Danny & Andy’s Advertures down the Thames on Paddle Boards – From Source to Fulham Bridge – DnA adventures

 

Andy has completed some impressive things over the years. Organising a run along the length of the infamous Silk Route, Ultra Marathons across deserts carrying all his own food and kit and he will sail around Hong Kong Island just for something to do on a sunday.

Danny talked of doing stuff. Talked about walking Hadrians wall with his mate Paul during hazy playstation days. Dreamed of sailing around the world. He did manage to meander across Asia, Latin America and NZ at different times with his wife. And is currently wondering if it is possible to buy a tuk tuk and drive through India with his family on board (tuk tuks probably aren’t big enough and you can be confident the kids would get bored of this stupid idea fairly quickly).

But then the Thames happened. We wanted to paddle board from source to sea. Andy lived on a beach and had his own paddleboard so was confident. Danny had never been on a paddleboard and had no idea what it was like so he was confident too.

We arrived at Cricklade and stood ankle deep in the trickle of water that was meant to be the earliest bit of the Thames that would allow you to canoe or paddle on it. It was meant to be deep enough. Our fins scraped across the bottom of the river.

As it turned out there was way to little water. We ducked under trees, pulled ourselves through masses of reeds and after several hours finally got to paddle a bit.

Obviously we stopped at the first pub. Had a pint and got the map out.

We had hardly progressed anywhere.

Literally we had hardly moved. So as we pondered our poor effort so far we worked out how far we were going to have to travel every day to actually finish….nothing like preparation.

To do the journey we would need to paddle 30miles a day. On a river with zero flow. And many distracting pubs. No way this was going to happen in just 5 days.

We slept in pub gardens and on river islands, blagged our way through virtually all the locks and nearly got hit by a canal boat in the pitch black one night (should have packed torches!). Billboards aren’t just awesome adventure paddleboards  – turns out they are pretty comfy to sleep on..

The weather was pretty kind to us most of the way. Andy’s friend joined us one day and we discovered we needed to chill out a bit, loose our haste and enjoy it more (she brought a picnic and punctured paddleboard).

We saw some stunning scenery and wildlife.

A gaggle of geese swooped low over our heads and landed in front of us. Kingfishers we plentify. Stray tennis balls (we called them Wilsons) were common. As were little chinese crayfish (which had apparently once escaped from a restaurant boat and had now taken over, migrated upstream and killed all local cray fish on the river). We discovered that it was impossible to paddle through a full circle rainbow no matter how hard you tried. Ok we knew it was impossible but it looked so truely spectacular we had to try. Cows would talk back to us if we Moo’d at them. Danny also discovered he could paddle straighter if he had had a few pints

By the time we reached Henley the weather changed and it pissed down. So we did what people do in Henley. We drank Pimms.

Despite doing a marathon a day we didn’t get as far as we needed to and Andy left in the morning of day 6 as he had to get back to Hong Kong. The weather had also turned but he claimed it wasn’t because of that.

Danny carried on in the mist and fog. Once through the Teddington lock the river became tidal. He soon realised that there was no point fighting the tide and barely made it to the shore. After an Ice cream and a wait Danny headed off for the last stretch and was rewarded at the end by his wife and kids cheering him on. It was actually quite emotional!

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Billboard SUP – Born on the Thames
Billboard Sup is a London – Copenhagen based brand.
Billboard is an urban expedition paddleboard brand, with a proven capability to go anywhere – and back.

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The Active360 team are dedicated to developing stand up paddleboarding. We aim to offer opportunities for you to take part, purchase equipment and even train to coach the sport.

Dedicated to the sport, the water and the environment.

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.eco is a new web address ending for anyone committed to positive change for the planet.

The .eco domain is backed by more than 50 environmental organizations including Conservation International, United Nations Global Compact and WWF and is a trusted symbol for the environmental community.

Promoting awareness and understanding of the damaging effects of plastic pollution in waterways and oceans and encourage individual and group action to refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle plastic, starting at home in London.

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Overboard Dry Bags

“100% Waterproof bags and cases – they are the world leaders in waterproof cases and waterproof bags for beach, boat and whatever life throws at you. Our Waterproof Backpacks and waterproof duffels are used by athletes and sportspeople worldwide.”

 

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