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SUP Thames Challenge Day 2 - Bastard Wind and Boards in the Oxford City Centre

At 7 am alarm went off... believe me I didn't want to get up. My body felt sore and with every move I was aching even more. I didn't feel like I could paddle even a kilometer more.

Mike question 'how am I feeling?' met silence response.

In a few seconds he added 'You know if you not feel alright we can always take a break to recover and continue tomorrow.'.

My response way 'You are not serious?! We are not stopping unless it is that serious that I require medical attention and physically I can't continue paddling!'.

We left @courtyardoxfordcitycentre hope that the weather would improve today but forecast seem to want to validate it. On positive note, for next three days, @77lawsy would be paddling with us which should brighten up our journey and his fresh optimism should keep us going!


We have finished a lot earlier today compared to yesterday and actually made it to the rooftop terrace to take in the sunset (and drink gin/beer and eat pizza) but that should not fool you into thinking it was easy!!!

Today at times the headwinds were worse than we experienced yesterday and shelter was few and far between. It was a relentless paddle against the wind. #Justonemorecorner and #BastardWind were our phrases of the day!

At times we really wondered if we had enough left in the tank to get to the destination. We all fought on through conditions that would have turned many paddlers back and while we are bruised and beaten we were also totally buzzing!!

Big shout out to Andrew and the team at @courtyardoxfordcitycentre for looking after us so brilliantly after today’s paddle and supporting the challenge with a room for us to rest in and also a little mention to the guys at @thetroutattadpolebridge for all of their help with logistics. Both are beautiful venues that you should check out.

Lessons learnt:

  • Oxford for navigation can be confusing due to the combination of canals, streams and dead ends. The fact you can see water/river/canal doesn't mean it's paddle-able. Check out Oxford map and GoPaddling App or Facebook Paddling groups for particular routes advise if you plan to navigate around Oxford.

  • Paddling for almost 2 km from one side has killed my lower back/left hip.


Starting point: Dead end of Oxford Canal, 1-2 Hythe Bridge St, Oxford OX1 2EW (5 min walk from @courtyardoxfordcitycentre)

Endpoint: the Troutt at Tadpole Bridge, Buckland Rd, Buckland Marsh, Faringdon SN7 8RF

Distance: 35km

Time: 9 hours

Tip - When you face cross wind and after intense paddle from one side you still drift to side/bank adjust your technique (your body position, as well as, shaft and blade angle) to improve your tracking and give yourself a bit of time to recover from paddling more excessively from one side.

Reel from the day

Full Gallery



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