British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite completes record-breaking Mississippi River expedition

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Dave Cornthwaite prepares to continue his journey from the under the Sunshine Bridge.

British adventurer Dave Cornthwaite, 31, has continued his record-breaking career with the first unsupported descent of the Mississippi by Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). His 2404-mile journey is a new distance record by SUP, and it is the first time a non-American has held the record.

The 82-day journey, which began on the June 19, raised charitable funds for the AV Foundation and CoppaFeel, and widened awareness for water conservation through the Blue Climate and Oceans Project, for which Cornthwaite is an Ambassador. It is estimated that Cornthwaite took more than 1.3 million strokes this summer, in over 485 hours of paddling.

Cornthwaite, who crossed Australia on a skateboard in 2006, breaking the world record for the longest distance ever skated, has now completed four journeys in his Expedition1000 project. The author and motivational speaker from London, England, is attempting to raise £1,000,000 for charity by undertaking 25 separate journeys of 1,000 miles or more, each one using a different form of non-motorised transport.

Among his remaining 21 journeys is riding a horse across Mongolia, paragliding 1000 miles along the Himalayas in Nepal, a row from Perth to Mauritius across the Indian Ocean and a ski to the South Pole.

Cornthwaite became an unwitting media celebrity during his Mississippi journey, appearing on numerous newspaper front pages and several TV shows. His journey was likened to ‘Forrest Gump on a Stand Up Paddleboard’ as he was joined on the water by hundreds of locals, and he has earned the nickname ‘Stand Up Huck’, after the popular Mark Twain character, Huckleberry Finn.

Cornthwaite faced numerous challenges on his journey, including Tropical Storm Lee, alligators, bears, mosquitos, whirlpools, snakes, ocean-going ships and giant barges. His exploits have been chronicled online in videos, blogs and photographs on a daily basis, allowing tens of thousands of people to follow the journey from comfort of their own homes.

Cornthwaite said on completion of his paddle: “The Mississippi River is one of the most iconic waterways in the world, what an education to have seen every inch of it. The experience has helped me grow as much as the river did, and the wonderful generosity I’ve received from Americans on the way has made this journey what it is."

Dave Cornthwaite prepares to continue his journey down the Mississippi River.