On May 19, Tommy Jacobson, aged 19 years old from Murrumbateman in NSW, starts an amazing adventure travelling over 6000 kilometres on a stand up paddle board (SUP).
His goal is to paddle the entire length of Australia’s four longest rivers – the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Darling and Lachlan.
Is he crazy? Paddle boards aren’t exactly the most stable vessel around but he’s young (not yet twenty), fit (he’ll need to be) and courageous – though not completely foolhardy. He decided not to include three other long rivers in his expedition because they are home to large crocodiles!
He will be carrying all his gear with him on the board. Except for food drops, he will be entirely self-sufficient.
During his long journey, Tommy hopes to raise awareness and funds for Camp Quality, the charity supporting children with cancer and the Australian Wildlife Conservancy – a not-for-profit dedicated to conserving our threatened wildlife and ecosystems.
Interviewed by Wear It Australia, Tommy was asked..
Which river are you starting on and what is the starting point?
“The first river I’ve decided to paddle is the Murrumbidgee River, being the river that is closest to home and I’m most familiar with its a good river to start the journey. Although with over 1350 kilometres and an estimated over 35 days of paddling it will be sure to push me to my limits. The starting point of the Murrumbidgee is around 15 minutes from Canberra, where I found the majority of the white-water/rapids died off and the rivers starts to become suitable to paddle with gear on board.”
How long will it take you?
“The Murrumbidgee River runs for over 1450 kilometres, and with my trip for safety reasons I took out as much of the white-water/rapids section as I could. Which still leaves me with around 1350 kilometres to paddle to reach the junction where the Murrumbidgee finishes and flows into the Murray River ( Australia’s longest river). With an average distance of 40 kilometres a day it should take me around 35 days. As some days I may only get around 20 kilometres with weir crossings, getting around white-water/rapids/snags etc all taking into account. Then other days I may have a clean run with a good flow and make upwards of 60 kilometres a day.”
What’s the time-frame for all four rivers?
“The plan for the expedition is to complete the four rivers within a year and half, with the Murrumbidgee and Murray looking to be completed this year and the Lachlan and Darling in my sights for next year. Although I’m leaving it pretty flexible to adjust for preparation time for each river and for suitable river conditions.”
“The board I’m paddling is a Naish Glide 12 foot 6 inches from my major sponsors Naish. It’s one of the best boards for stand up paddle trips. As it is designed for racing and built with a carbon construction it is very fast and very light. Although it’s a bit shorter than your traditional 14 foot “touring” SUP board, I’ve gone the shorted length for the Murrumbidgee trip to increase manoeuvrability as the river is full of rocks and snags to get around. For the Murrumbidgee trip I’ve decided to have no food drops, and go completely unsupported and self sufficient. The main reason I can do this is because of this board, it has 265 litres of foam (Which is a lot of foam for a SUP board) enabling it to carry myself at 70kg with around 50kg of gear/food, and at under 1 kg of food per day for 35 days I’ll still have around 20kg left for all my gear.”
Tommy and Wear It Australia would like to thank to following companies for their generous support;
EVIE – Inflatable Rashies who will supply Sun Smart PFD Inflatable Rashies for his expeditions.
VHF Radio Course.com – promoter of marine radio & beacon safety eqipment for the supply of an ACR ResQLink – Personal Locator Beacon (PLB)
story by Di Pollard. 07/05/2012