Watch This Guy Stand Up Paddle the Amazon River

Charlie Head's stand up paddle board adventure down the Amazon River is the first of its kind.
© James Contos
By Quint Procopare

Paddling the Amazon River 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 paddle board — making an incredibly tough trip even tougher. Watch the videos above and below to get an idea of what an incredible mission this was.

© Matthew Hodgen

Head started at the primary source of the Amazon River — or at least one of them — a glacier almost 3 miles above sea level. His destination was Iquitos, Peru — 1,100 miles 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. Upon entering the canyon, Head said, “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 Explorers series on Red Bull TV.

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