SUP4DCA: THE BOOK
Tom's currently working on getting his first book published; the story of how he went from suicidal thoughts to completing a world record stand up paddle boarding journey a year later. The book will show exactly what was running through his mind as he came faced the challenges of his epic 3,800km SUP trip and what set him down the path of 'Adventuring'. Below is an exclusive preview..
Pain shot through my right shoulder as the weight of the board became too much. My left arm clung to the tuft of reeds halfway up the river bank. The effort of balancing completely still was making my entire body start to shudder. The pain in my shoulder intensified with every moment. I clung there, wondering if this entire trip was a big mistake.
My right arm had been holding a 14ft stand-up paddle board above my head for what seemed like an eternity. Right now, that small tuft of reeds was the only thing stopping me from sliding the few metres back down into the riverbed. It was ironic that I was stuck here, where the water was the deepest it had been all day. I grimaced again as yet another wave of pain ran through my arm. I really needed to put the board down, but I was sure that any movement would send me sliding down the muddy bank to where I had begun.
I was halfway up a very steep and very muddy river bank on the Condamine River. Forced out of the riverbed by a huge logjam that blocked the entire river, I was attempting to go around the jam by climbing up the bank. It had been a mistake to try and leave the riverbed here where the banks were so steep. Already so far behind my schedule, the thought of going backwards up the river to find a good exit point had been unbearable, so I had tried to climb.
As yet another surge of pain hit my shoulder, I couldn’t take it anymore. I lowered the board so that it was now resting on my head and right shoulder. As the board lowered, my body shifted the tiniest bit to counterbalance and I felt my feet slide underneath me. I moved barely a centimetre, but in the soft mud that lined the bank it was enough. I started to slide. Desperately, I pulled hard on the reeds as I tried a few quick steps searching for a new foothold. It worked for a moment and I managed to move a few feet further up the bank. Then, I felt the reeds in my hand go slack. I looked up to see that I had pulled them out of the bank. I grabbed the clump next to where they had been but it, too, came free. Without a third clump in reach, both my feet now began to slide. Given all the pain and pressure I had endured, it was extremely anti-climactic to feel myself slide slowly back down to the riverbed. I came to rest in knee-deep water, looking back up at my footmarks in the mud. I dropped the board in the water next to me, scoffing as the fin hit yet another log hidden underneath the surface. My legs ached, my right arm was completely numb, and my head pounded as I realised that it was not possible to paddle this river system.
This trip was supposed to help me rediscover pride in my life... This trip was supposed to help the lives of others in need… This trip was not possible.
I sat in the mud of the Condamine river and struggled with that realisation. Part of me wanted to cry, part of me wanted to disappear, a big part of me just wanted to sleep, but none of me wanted to give up, especially not on Day 3.
But what else could I do?
This trip was impossible.
Stay tuned the full story is coming soon..