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“You are never 100% ready for a challenge like this”

Paddleboard Dave Cornthwaite

Dave Cornthwaite describes paddleboarding the length of the Mississippi for 82 days.

“Within 10 minutes of being introduced to paddleboarding, I’d decided I had to do an expedition on one. Two months later, I was paddling the length of the Mississippi river from source to sea. The Mississippi touches 10 US States and to go for three months solid required huge discipline and dedication. But it was also incredible fun.

I take my trips back to basics. I didn’t plan much beyond what might kill me or stop the trip happening. And I also didn’t train. I was not rushing to finish so I took it slowly to build up my fitness and over the first four or five days, I got rid of those aches and pains. It takes a week to reach peak fitness.

You are never 100 per cent ready for a challenge like this. You can plan an adventure and focus on all the things that can go wrong. That takes the adventure out of it. I was chucked off on the rapids and there were 15-foot gators waiting for me. Dealing with surprises just takes presence of mind.

I’ve always felt in more danger driving on the M25 than any of my trips. On a journey, your senses are heightened to the dangers. I’ve covered 20,000 miles and the only injury I’ve had was when I was hit by a car.

I was a really bored graphic designer when I was 25 and I decided to challenge myself to complete 25 journeys of over 1,000 miles without mechanised transport. I’ve longboarded the length of Australia and swum the Missouri river. I’ve never been on a trip where I thought I couldn’t do it. If you can move, you can achieve any distance. All the complications are in our minds.”

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