In an extraordinary feat of exploration and determination, Jake Reid, an adventurous explorer with a thirst for the unknown, has completed a groundbreaking stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) journey along the entire 72km stretch of the Swan River in Perth, Western Australia. After completing the journey in two whole days (August 24th + 25th 2023), we caught up with Jake to get the inside scoop on his motivation, challenges, and memorable moments during this epic adventure.
What Sparked the Idea?
Jake’s inspiration? Pure curiosity and a love for exploration. He shared, “I always love exploring and adventuring around Perth where I can, and I just had the thought that I don’t think anyone has ever SUP’ed the whole Swan River before and was like, ‘Yeah, why not just send it?’ It is also a really good way for me to explore every inch of the place.”
Preparing for the Unknown
Preparing for a 72km SUP expedition isn’t your run-of-the-mill training regimen. Jake typically focused on hiking and trail running but took a different approach this time. “I physically wasn’t too worried about being able to paddle the distance,” he explained. “Before doing this, I was pretty worried I would just stack it and hurt myself pretty bad.” Preparation included sessions at Bells Rapids to get accustomed to white water rapids and build confidence, along with long-distance paddle training.
Conquering Rapids and Challenges
Navigating white water rapids was the Everest of challenges during this journey. Jake admitted, “On the day, the rapids were definitely still difficult as there were lots of sections I hadn’t paddled and didn’t know what to expect. I basically just had to have the attitude of just sending it and hoping for the best in some parts like the main big rapids at Bells Rapids.”
Despite the challenges, the rapids provided a thrilling and unforgettable experience. “Sure, I fell off a few times and smacked my shins on some rocks,” he chuckled, “but I was loving just being out there and having a good go.” The sunrise over the tranquil waters left an indelible mark on his journey, reminding him of the privilege of such an adventure.
Equipment and Gear
Jake chose a standard SUP board, readily available at local camping stores, and removed the main fin for navigating rapids. Dry bags stored essentials like a tent, extra clothes, and camera gear, while a backpack carried water and snacks.
Managing Energy and Motivation
Managing physical and mental fatigue across such a long distance required a strategic approach. Podcasts provided entertainment during flatwater stretches, and using thongs as knee cushions proved to be a lifesaver.
Route Planning and Navigation
The route was mapped meticulously from the Avon River and Wooroloo Brook junction to Fremantle. Staying mostly to one side of the river, he adapted his route as the river widened to ensure efficiency. Detailed planning based on his paddling pace made navigation smoother.
Unexpected Wildlife Encounters
Nature had a few surprises in store, with swans and dolphins gracing the journey. These encounters added to the already awe-inspiring experience.
Advice for Aspiring Paddleboarders
For those considering a long-distance paddleboarding adventure, Jake advises confidence in your abilities, thorough route planning, and ensuring you have the right gear. Safety should be a priority, with essential supplies and communication tools like a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Most importantly, savor every moment.
A New Perspective on Nature
This epic paddleboarding adventure transformed Jake’s perspective on the Swan River. He now has a newfound respect for this life-giving waterway, realising its significance beyond the city limits.
The Meaning of SUP and Encouragement
Stand-up paddleboarding, to Jake, is an accessible and enriching way to connect with nature. He encourages others to embrace this sport, especially newcomers. “Inflatable ones can be really cheap, and it’s an awesome way for people who don’t have a boat or much experience to explore and have some fun in a way that is fun and healthy,” he enthused.
In the end, this epic Swan River adventure was about much more than conquering 72km—it was about Jake Reid connecting with nature, pushing personal limits, and gaining a newfound appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. So, fellow adventurers, what’s stopping you from sending it on your own remarkable journey?
You can see Jakes fully self filmed video of the Swan River expedition on his YouTube Channel
A big cheers to Jake for his time in chatting to us about this incredible feat and providing the epic shots