In aid of charities AV Foundation and Coppafeel

Two British adventurers are setting out to ‘stand-up paddle’ across the UK – from Bath to London via the inland waterways – to raise funds for charity.

Photos: Dave Cornthwaite stand-up paddling across Lake Geneva in April 2010

Dave Cornthwaite and World Record-breaking ocean rower Sarah Outen are preparing to Stand Up Paddle 150 miles between Bath and London starting on 2 June, in aid of the AV Foundation and CoppaFeel.

Stand-up paddlers use long paddles to propel flat boards and are more commonly seen surfing the waves along the coast, although the sport is becoming more popular away from the beach.

The adventurous pair are inviting members of the general public to join them on the water as well as raising a small amount of funds for the event’s charities.

They are aiming to arrive into London’s Tower Bridge on the 8th June to celebrate World Oceans Day. 

The AV Foundation is an educational charity supporting rural schools in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CoppaFeel aims to hit home the importance of breast examination in younger women to reduce the incidence of late detection or misdiagnosed breast cancer. .

Dave and Sarah aim to be the first to Stand Up Paddle (SUP) between Bath and London.

The pair, who between them have rowed and paddled across both oceans and continents, are to team up for the first time, to endure a week of Stand Up Paddling across the UK from Bath to London.

In 2009 Sarah rowed over 4,000 miles between Australia and Mauritius, becoming the first and youngest woman to row the Indian Ocean and the youngest woman at the time to ever row an ocean. She helped Geoff Holt’s bid to circuumnavigate the UK in 2007 and is is now preparing for a self-propelled circumnavigation of the globe starting and ending in London, England. She’s due to set off in April 2011.

Cornthwaite, who once skateboarded across Australia and also paddled the country’s longest river, and Outen, are measuring their trip in Blue Miles, which are miles travelled on or besides the water.

The dynamic duo are both Ambassadors of The Blue Mile – Race for the Environment, the UK’s newest mass-participation event which encourages participants to swim, paddle or walk for our seas.

They are planning for 100’s of paddlers to join them for sections of the trip aiming to amass a total of 1000 Blue Miles before they reach their finish line at Tower Bridge.

“Fusing sport and travel is a great way to enthuse people about the Blue environment in which they play and train,” Cornthwaite says. “There’s no better way to celebrate the spirit of British Adventure than travelling through our own country with an ever-growing group of strangers joining our ranks.”

“SUP is similar to surfing, but it’s much easier as you use a paddle to get around – a bit like punting,” said Sarah. “I love anything that allows me to travel on water and get close to nature. As a sport it is great because it is so accessible and versatile – it can be done virtually anywhere by anyone, plus it’s a great way to keep fit.”

The 150 mile route isn’t just a straightforward paddle, as 114 locks – or portages – lie between Bath and London.

Effectively, Cornthwaite and Outen are taking on the route of the famous Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race, with another 25 miles on top.

The Blue Bath 2 London is being supported by Sport Environment and will promote the Blue Climate and Oceans Project, an initiative that works with sports men and women to harnesses the popularity of adventure sports that showcase the natural environment.

Other supporting sponsors include Spaceships Campervans, Starboard, Africa & Asia Venture, Palm Equipment Europe, Cotswold Outdoor, Nakd Wholefoods and the Family Adventure Store