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Charlie head

Around the world there are many beautiful and magical locations to paddle and explore.  But unfortunately there are also many places that are becoming un-paddleable. Charlie Head is a man always on the look out for the next adventure on his SUP. After paddling around England & Wales and taking on the mighty Amazon with help from Red Bull TV, Charlie is soon off on another quest. This time, not only to raise awareness of our changing world, but also to capture something special before it’s gone. One area that is about to change forever is the Blue Nile River, due to the near completion of a huge dam upstream. Charlie and team plan to not only paddle this river for the last time, but also capture the magic and beauty of the river by filming a documentary along the way. But these epic films don’t just happen… they need support and funding.  Back ‘The last Descent’ here.

Charlie paddling the Amazon

About Charlie Head 
For us at SUPboarder Charlie Head is a true adventurer. Every chance he has, he is on the water exploring around the next corner, or planning for that next unique adventure. His go for it attitude is contagious and his softly spoken voice is certainly made for tv! We’ve followed Charlie’s adventures on many occasions and have got to know him well. He’s normally a do first and talk later kind of guy. But the time restraints of this trip has him doing the exact opposite. When possible Charlie likes to fund his own trips and expeditions. But this trip involves more than just him, as Charlie explains…

Below is summary of the trip from ‘The Last Descent’ website.
This is a documentary about a team of explorers making the last ever decent of the Blue Nile River. We have a very imminent timeline due to the construction of the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. This profound reality means it’s the last chance for us and for anyone, to descend this iconic river, we want to honor this river and tell her story, before it’s gone forever.

Due to this unchangeable time scale we have to be realistic on the funding we can rise to get this project done.

The money we are trying to raise here is the bear minimum cost to just survive the 35 days in Ethiopia. Please see funding breakdown below.

Not long ago, our team made the first and the last descent from the primary source of the Amazon, the river Maranon We heard it was being damned, and we teamed up with our wing man Rocky on a campaign to protect the river, and spread the word. Now we intend to paddle board through the grand canyon of the Nile with a similar dream and vision of adventure to let the world know what is to be lost in the coming years and to motivate people to do something to help protect the remaining canyon. We invite you to help us make the grand canyon of the blue Nile of Africa more well known and we hope you will enjoy experiencing it through the film and posts that will follow the first ever stand up paddle boarding trip through the blue Nile.

Sadly, for this trip on the Nile, we may not have the same opportunity, but we sure as hell want to show the world what were saying goodbye to, and showcase it’s history and beauty. The Nile is one of the most well known and enigmatic rivers in the world, The Blue Nile emerges from Lake Tana in Ethiopia, the Blue Nile is the main stem source if the Nile. Downstream in the underpopulated origin of the Nile the native wildlife is abundant and in particular dangerous Nile crocodiles lurk in the waters.

Unfortunately soon it will not be possible to paddle through the entire grand canyon of Africa anymore because one of the largest damns in Africa the ‘Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam’ should have already been completed and started flooding by July 2017 but the building has been delayed so that adventurous spirits can paddle the river ion its free flowing state, so this is literally the last chance to capture the essence of this river before it’s lost forever. When it has been completed it will flood 230 km of the river, including the lower part of the grand canyon section.

We have assembled a very special team to make this possible and have come together for our passion of education and love for our planet. The funds that we raise will conclude the investment we need to make this production happen in time!

Fortunately we have already sourced the bulk of the investment ourselves, but unfortunately not enough in time before the imminent dam construction. So this is why we need your help as we can get to raise these last funds to make this production possible.

A massive part of your contribution and your support for this trip is going to help towards supporting the education surrounding this project , by raising awareness and support for the importance of the protection of these endangered environments. Your investment is so important to us because you are helping us to capture some of the last memories of the most extraordinary rivers of the world.

Find out more about the trip and back it here :

SUP adventurer Charlie Head is currently circumnavigating the UK by SUP. And to capture his experience he’s making video diaries along the way. Well worth a watch with lots of laughs, plenty of action and a great insight into what solo SUP adventure life is like on and off the water. It’s not all sunshine and smiles! But you can’t help smiling watching Charlie on camera. A super enthusiastic guy who’s super stoked about SUP, and is always up for a challenge!

Read more about Charlie’s mighty paddle around the UK, how you can support him and track his location here.

These are Charlie’s video blogs so far (latest at the top), and we will update them along the way.



The hungry SUPer! - Charlie Head paddling around the UK

SUP adventurer Charlie Head is off again… but this time he’s staying a bit closer to home and paddling around the UK. Having paddled 1800km along the Amazon in September 2015 as part of a documentary for Red Bull TV, this time Charlie is planning to stay in the UK and complete his circumnavigation of the British coastline. In 2012 Charlie paddled unsupported from Land End to London, and now he’s hoping to complete that journey by paddling the remainder of the UK coastline which is likely to take him 3-4 months! Starting from Turnham-On-Crouch at 6am on the 27th June 2016 Charlie and his trusty and very laden down Fanatic iSUP set off north along the coast. Charlie always enjoys a good adventure, but he’s not just doing this latest paddle challenge for himself. As well as exploring every inch of the British coastline, meeting new people and discovering new places along the way, Charlie is also hoping to raise awareness of mental health issues and the detrimental effect of plastics in the ocean, something Charlie is very passionate about whilst both on and off the water. Charlie will be carrying out beach cleans along the way, inviting local communities to join in.

This is a new challenge for Charlie and will test his physical and mental endurance. With only limited food supplies (whatever he can carry onboard) and no cash Charlie will be relying on the generosity of his supporters and the general public to keep him fuelled on his way. Whether thats by offering him a comfy bed for the night, a good breakfast, hot shower or some paddling company for a short leg of the journey!

Find out more about Charlie and his Lands End to London paddle in the video below: 

To show your support for Charlie ‘the hungry SUPer’ get in touch via his email –, Facebookwebsite, or join him for a beach clean or donate £3 towards a meal! Anything over and above what he needs to survive will go to The Big Stand, the charity Charlie is founder and ambassador of.

Charlie will be sharing his experiences and keeping us all updated with his progress with daily short videos and a weekly round up video via Facebook. You can also follow Charlie via his SPOT connect tracker.

Good luck Charlie. Hope the British weather is kind! And the SUPboarder team looks forward to catching up with you along the way.

British SUP adventurer and founder of THE BIG STAND charity Charlie Head recently undertook an epic expedition from the primary source of the River Amazon, 1800km’s down river tackling white water rapids and huge endurance distances on his inflatable SUP.  Charlie’s trip was filmed by Red Bull and is now available for all to watch at and through the Red Bull TV app.  In the documentary Charlie battles kit breakage, injury and infection, on top of the pressures of a long distance trip. It’s a must watch!

Charlie Head - Mission Amazon - Red Bull TV

Watch Charlie’s full Mission Amazon film here :

In the beginning

Charlie caught our attention in 2011 when he set off alone and unsupported to paddle from Lands End, UK  to Central London via the coast.  His trip was full of highs and lows with Charlie documenting much of his trip on Go Pro letting viewers into the strong emotions he felt on the trip.  In 2012 we interviewed Charlie in London – check out the full interview here;

Following his Mission Amazon SUPboarder joined Charlie and THE BIG STAND on a post expedition ‘chill out trip’ – a 7 day gentle paddle around the island of Ibiza in the Mediterranean.  Days of wild camping and paddling with Charlie gave us an appreciation for how tough Mission Amazon really was, but also how resilient Charlie is. He has an incredible sense of adventure and above all is super passionate about protecting the environment we paddle in, through his Charity, THE BIG STAND.

Check out the video of the Ibiza trip below:

Read  Charlie’s full SUPboarder feature ‘SUP Ibiza – a different look at the party Island’ here.

Mission Amazon is the first time we have seen adventure stand up paddleboarding on Red Bull TV – showing us that stand up paddling is capturing the imagination of masses.  Our sport is incredibly diverse, and can fuel the fire of adrenaline junkies, allow us to exercise our competitive side as well as allowing us to relax and unwind as the sun goes down.  Where will SUP take you next?

If this guy gets you inspired – check out everything CHARLIE HEAD on SUPboarder here.

To find out more about THE BIG STAND charity visit their website here : and stay up to date with Charlie Head and his adventures on his FaceBook here :


SUP Ibiza

Sometimes it’s good to put preconceived ideas to one side and to take a fresh look at things or places that you thought you knew. That’s what adventurer Charlie Head was gently forced to do when he was told to go and paddle around the European Party Island of Ibiza last autumn. We’ve already featured the video of this week long adventure cruise on SUPboarder, and now here is Charlie’s somewhat colourful description of the week!; 

SUP Ibiza - a different look at the party Island

I was balls deep in Peru, stand up paddling the course of the Amazon river when I received an expensive satellite message from Kiko, telling me that when I returned in 2 months, I was going to Ibiza. I initially couldn’t think of anything worse. I’m already sweating in a rubber suit, on the dance floor, paddling down rapids like a new born giraffe.

Sadly that’s how a lot of people think of Ibiza!? Humans coming to gorge on a thick rump of hedonism. Sex, heat and pink people. I was wrong, well, half wrong! Actually it was beautiful surprise.

So with Ben and Will, Kiko planned a soulful, peaceful circumnavigation of Ibiza. Empty rugged coastlines with crystal clear waters. No need for a rubber suit, I can be naked as I like, or as long as everyone else could handle being at the back! Only when Kiko took her top off, the pace picked up!

Kiko knows me well and knew I was going to have a massive come down when I returned to London. So she joined forces with Ben and Will to make up the chilled team of characters to film a little adventure holiday on an island seen in a whole new way.

SUP Ibiza

After raging brown silted water, it felt like I was in a dream. My board was now gliding through silky, clear aquarium water. I paddled for 2 minutes before diving off my board into a deep cuddle of bubbles, fizzing across my skin.

Deciding our start point was simple. A tourist map of the island, locate the airport and then looking for the closest parasol symbol. Taxi hailed, off we drove via the supermarket, and arrived at this car park in the pitch black. Now for finding the ultimate flat and stone free sleep spot. Bit of whiskey, clear starry sky and moonlit waves lapping at our heads, we slept. Dreaming with anticipation of our unplanned adventure that lay ahead.

We had a rough plan and were armed with nothing more than Google maps. With an 80 mile coastline there was no real rush and had decided we wanted to enjoy interesting places to camp in rather than squeeze in the miles. We searched for beaches (using the zoom function on the iPhone which often turned out to be yellow coloured boulders!) but occasionally were welcomed with some little surprises. A cave, deserted beaches and an uninhabited island made for some great wild camp spots and evening sunsets or morning sunrises couldn’t have been more beautiful.

Kit wise we also only needed one waterproof rucksack each for all our gear, strapped to the front of the board with a few water bottles and the occasional bit of firewood we would pick up along the way. I had suggested to the team that a sleeping liner would be fine, after all, windguru said temperatures at night were about 19 (lies!) so it was no surprise we only need one bag each. Ben, the main casualty of the actual night time temperatures was very good humoured about my poor advice, often blaming himself for listening to someone like me.

We had a couple of days when wind and waves pushed us into a cave, land locked, we hid from the spray and christened the whisky. With mainly just the wind to consider, most of the mornings would normally be calm with time to get around parts of the coast with limited places to stop.

Four friends became closer, through a trip that’s perfect for the holiday maker and the adventurer. We were followed by dolphin, navigated a mine field of jelly fish, rescued a seagull and formed a relationship with an island we didn’t even know existed without an hangover.

If you did the trip over two weeks, it would make an incredible pub/club crawl and fully see the best of Ibiza. But one week is all you need to get around the island. The dramatic rocks, cliffs and caves are best on the north side of the island but with slightly less camping options unless you really want to freestyle!? There are so many deep water bouldering lines all the way along, leading to great cliff jumps. We went at the end of the season when more of the coastline would be available to camp and less chance of tourists.

Often expeditions are about planning, overcoming obstacles and reaching a destination. Kiko, Will, Ben and Charlie skipped most of that by setting one goal, to chill-out and see what they could find on a path less travelled around an island that many will only think of as a party destination. And they succeeded. Look out for more from Charlie soon here on SUPboarder. 

Images : Benjamin Sadd
Words : Charlie Head

Stand up paddleboarding isn’t just about riding waves, racing or pottering down a calm river/lake. It can be about adventure and expedition too as SUPboarder’s Will Rogers found out when he joined The Big Stand creators Kiko Matthews and Charlie Head, along with talented film maker Benjamin Sadd on a 125km circumnavigation of Ibiza by SUP.  

WR / When I heard about the plans for this trip, as a keen SUP adventurer I booked straight on without really knowing what to expect or what the plan was! When we landed in Ibiza, we still didn’t know what to expect or have a plan but I quickly learnt that this was what makes SUP adventures so incredible.

As an island known well for its nightlife I was blown away by the stunning beauty and idilic peacefulness of this small island in the Mediterranean.  Travelling by SUP we experienced a really unique taste of every piece of its dramatic coast line as well as camping in some incredible spots, sharing travel stories around our camp fires.

After a week of paddling, the simple routine of our SUP life became strangely comforting.  I don’t think any of us wanted to really go home!

This brilliant film by Benjamin Sadd / The Trail to Anywhere documents the trip. Here’s what Benjamin had to say;

BS/ In 2014 I learnt to paddleboard by traveling the length of the river Thames. I hadn’t set foot on a board since then – now a year and a half later it was time to get back on a board and give paddling on the sea a go. At the end of the summer party season the flights to Ibiza are both cheap and practically empty, so what better choice for a bit of autumn sun and sea? Over the course of a week we camped on cliff tops, in abandoned houses and empty restaurants as we attempted to circumnavigate the island on paddle boards. Paddling with the co-founders of “The Big Stand” Kiko Matthews and Charlie Head as well as co-founder of SUPBoarder Will Rogers, I felt a little intimidated!

Enjoy some of Benjamin’s great photography from the trip below;

The Big Stand – Environment, Education, Adventure, Leadership.

‘The Big Stand’ is the world’s first charitable incorporated organisation with stand up paddling at its heart.
The Big Stand’s vision is to bring stand up paddleboardng (SUP) to a wide community of people in the UK. By funnelling business profit into a charitable scheme the Big Stand aims to develop and connect young adults to their environment through adventure, leadership skills, environmental awareness, and health education. And through SUP young people can try a new sport, meet new people, build resilience and improve confidence.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 10.59.32

Adventurer and Founder Charlie Head explains “We offer young people a range of courses that provide skills and knowledge they might otherwise never learn. Leadership, stand up paddling, planning expeditions, bush-craft, first aid, and endurance skills are core aspects of our residential courses. At the end students will plan their own mini stand up paddleboard adventure expedition to complete the course.”

To find out more about ‘The Big Stand’ check out their website here.

To show your support for this worthwhile charity vote for them on ‘Pitch to Rich.’ Every click counts and will help this charity move forward. As advertised on Channel 4 and ITV, 800 organisations are hoping to gain enough votes to be in the top 50, and have the opportunity to pitch their vision to Richard Branson. But be quick as it runs out at 5pm tonight 05/05/15! And please be patient as the pitch to rich website is being slow today due to lots of clicks!



“In August 2013, a team of nine intrepid travellers attempted to stand up paddle board 100km up the Sermilik Fjord on the East Coast of Greenland. Despite warnings how ‘crazy’ it would be from the local Greenlandics, the team persevered and decided to carry on until the ice was too thick to continue.

Camping on the shoreline each evening after a hard day’s paddle, the team each took two hour shifts throughout the night to watch out for polar bears.”
This is their story…

Directed, Filmed and Edited by Justin Hankinson.


SUPboarders thoughts

This 55 min real world documentary gives a great insight into the Greenland lifestyle and the effect our changing global climate has on not only the environment but a way of life. It also demonstrates that with good planning and safety cover you can go anywhere on a paddleboard and paddle any adventure…. well almost!

Even with all the gear, unfortunately the late arrival of summer and delayed melting of the ice meant the team were unable to achieve their full goal of reaching Greenlands largest glacier Helheim. The teams disappointment is evident, especially by paddleboard explorer Charlie Head, who is always one to want to go that just little bit further and get all his questions answered!! But they still had a real adventure and experienced some truly unique paddling in challenging conditions. Paddling around moving and cracking icebergs is definitely not for the faint hearted! It just goes to show that even with the best planning in the world, the weather makes its own decisions, and can be unpredictable wherever you are in the world. So you always need to be prepared to change your plans.

Beautifully filmed by Justin Hankinson and narrated by Charlie Head ‘Polar bears and paddleboards’ captures the absolutely stunning Greenland scenery and tranquil way of life. And also the teams individual characters, team dynamics and the challenges faced when part of a team.

We’re sure the team will be eager to return and explore Greenland some more… minus the flies!

An easy to watch and informative documentary, that is definitely worth a watch if you’re thinking about planning a SUP adventure with a difference this year, or interested to find out more about Greenland. Just a shame the team were unable to answer more of their questions regarding climate change and were unable to reach their goal of Helheim Glacier.


Download or rent the ‘Polar bears and paddleboards’ documentary here from their Vimeo website page. You can also find some of the fun out takes of the adventure. 

Photos by Justin Hankinson.