See this guy paddle the white water of the Amazon

Balancing on a SUP, in white water, with 50kg of gear, for eight weeks straight. That’s adventure.
© Matthew Hodgen
By Quint Procopare

Paddling the Amazon from its headwaters has been done before – but until now it’s a task everyone else has attempted while sitting down. Charlie Head is the first person to do it on a stand-up paddleboard – making an incredibly tough trip even tougher. Did he fall? More times than he can count. Watch the videos above and below to get an idea of what an incredible mission this was.

© James Contos

Head started at the primary source of the Amazon – or at least one of them – a glacier 4,500m above sea level. His goal? Iquitos, a mere 1,800km downriver with a few obstacles in between. The journey was expected to take about eight weeks through rapids, over waterfalls, and the occasional hike when the river became impassable.

Charlie Head paddleboarding rapids on the headwaters of the Amazon in Peru
Standing up made a tough trip even tougher © Matthew Hodgen

And about those rapids – yeah, they were rapid. Running them on a SUP was not easy. Said Head upon entering the main canyon: “I take a lot of beating going through the rocks, but I’m moving faster and faster. I might get to my next destination much quicker, but maybe not in one piece.”

Charlie Head negotiates rapids on his stand-up paddleboard on the Río Maranon in Peru, the headwaters of the Amazon
Charlie negotiates a set of rapids © James Contos

Want to learn more about Charlie’s incredible journey? Check out the just-released, 24-minute episode of the Explorers series on Red Bull TV.

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