Pics: Adam D Short
On March the 6th 2014 Adam Short began an epic hike following every inch of the great British coastline, a journey that would take him a whopping 17 months to complete. Just a few months into this challenge Adam was asked what he would do after.
Seeing a couple of SUPers out enjoying a leisurely paddle in one of the many coves he came across Adam began to wonder if it was possible to paddleboard the entire length of the longest and most deadly river in the world, the infamous River Nile. From its source, along the entire 4,265 miles to the Mediterranean Sea.
Although Adam was a keen kayaker and had surfed early SUP versions on the Severn Bore in 2010 Adam had never really done any distance paddling. With help and advice from FatStick SUP, based in Adam’s hometown of Bournemouth, plans were set in motion and a prototype white water expedition board was developed.
In November last year Adam started his paddle training by stepping foot on an inflatable SUP supplied by FatStick and set off to SUP the entire length of the Thames, the longest river in Britain. Due to worsening weather and the full force of Hurricane Kate Adam had to pull the plug near Oxford. Hypothermia was about to set in! However the intrepid adventurer returned with the newly constructed expedition board in May, 2016.
Reaching Putney Pier, the furthest the London port authority would allow him, Adam was certain the board design was sound and would carry him and his gear down the Nile. It needed to be stable enough to negotiate the many rapids he would encounter along his journey, which it is.
When asked why paddleboard the Nile Adam replied: ‘what better way to see a diversely beautiful continent than by following its main water source on such a fantastic and alternative mode of transport.’
Having made a few adjustments to the original design, the second generation prototype white water expedition SUP has yet to be thoroughly tested. Something that will be done when Adam arrives in Kenya on his way to the furthest recorded source of the Nile in Rwanda.
Adam, who has not been able to raise all the funds he needs to complete the challenge, has already left England and is currently making his way overland by foot – hitchhiking or catching the odd train as and when funds become available through crowdfunding or industry support.
Adam, who is carrying a Spot Gen3 satellite tracking device which updates a real time map showing his progress as he makes his way to Africa, is regularly posting updates to social media such as Facebook and Twitter in the hope that his crowdfunding campaign will eventually raise the necessary in order to pay for visas and permits required to paddle through the six countries and many national parks the Nile runs.
Supporters of Adam’s ambitious challenge include Phil Plume from Cave Active who said: ‘Adam is a real ambassador for adventure and a terrific role model.’ Reuben May, proprietor of FatStick SUP, comments: ‘Adam is unconventional but has a pragmatic approach to solving the many problems he’ll encounter during his trip. We have every confidence he’ll succeed.’ David Walker, developer of the Paddle Logger app, added: ‘Adam is truly inspirational and we’re pleased he has chosen our application to validate his journey.’
Other well-wishers include adventurers Jason Lewis, Robert Twigger, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Levison Wood. Levison, who walked the Nile for a Channel 4 documentary added: ‘I wouldn’t do it!’
SUPM will be keeping a close eye on this historic solo unsupported journey and hope to catch up with Adam while he’s making his way towards the Mediterranean Sea. To follow Adam’s progress you can visit his Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages by searching for ‘AdamDShort’.