Calling Experienced Stand-Up Paddle Boarders

For two events on September 23 – a 15.5 km London Crossing race for experienced racers and the 20 km Big Ben Challenge for experienced and confident SUP paddlers.


There are 30 places for the London Crossing, a 15.5 km race across London from Putney to the Surrey entrance near Shadwell Basin (just past Tower Bridge). 

This will be the first SUP race right through the heart of the city taking in all the historic sites including the Eye, St Pauls, the Shard and the Tower. 

You need to be an experienced racer for this event, including races over 10 km, and it’s an early start at 8.00am from Putney.

The race will best suit people who have raced in choppy coastal waters as there is notable wash from passing boats and wind against tide.

It’s a Thames Barrier closure day so the currents should be relatively gentle – but this also depends on rainfall earlier in September.


If you would like to take part in the first London Crossing please email with the following information:

  • your name, e-mail address, contact number, gender
  • board type preferred (inflatable, 12’6, 14’0 etc.)
  • a short summary of races you have taken part in over the past few years
  • plus any other relevant experience.

The initial board class is up to 14’0 but if enough people want to enter 12’6 and/or inflatables these categories will also be run, hence racers are invited to let us know their preferred board length.

The Webscorer link will be sent to those selected to take part, once classes have been finalised. 


There will also be plenty of space on the Big Ben Challenge at noon on the same day. This will again run from Putney Embankment (where the Boat Race starts) to Big Ben and back and is a 20km event open to 200+ experienced and confident SUP paddlers. 

The Challenge is not a race but you can of course set your own personal best time. If you would like to take part, please apply as for the London Crossing above.

The cost of entering each event will be c£50 with trophies for the racers and a prize draw for the Big Ben Challenge. For more information about both events click here.  


There will also be the Foreshore Festival in Putney, which Andrew Triggs-Hodge the four times World Champion and three times Olympic Champion rower is involved in organising. The festival includes a rowing race from Hammersmith through London for four x eights and also a canoeing challenge starting from Shadwell and passing right through London.  


Tideway, the engineering company building the Thames super-sewer, is sponsoring and facilitating this event which will grow to be a major mass participation event in the London calendar. 


External Sources

Active360 website

Big Ben Challenge Facebook page