In late September of last year, a solo paddler from Wyoming undertook an incredible river journey from the headwaters of the Green River in the Wind River Range to its confluence with the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. This expedition had never been attempted before on a SUP. For fifty-nine days, Jedidiah Duke paddled across squally alpine lakes, traversed tranquil reservoirs, portaged around pour-overs and ran through raging rapids, all on his Hala board.
What were your gear essentials?
My Hala Rado SUP board, Butterknife Paddle, Lock n’ Load paddle, Vestpac, Chacos, a custom modified tent to sleep on my board, Jetboil, dried protein and couscous. I also had a Hala Fame the first twelve days of the trip, when I had some friends paddling with me.
The growing interest in stand-up is exceptional. What attracted you to the sport?
My sister-in-law had a board on the beach in Hawaii. I tried it out surfing and fell about four times. At first, it wasn’t something I was looking to buy. To be real honest, I didn’t need a new toy right away. I had experience in many different water crafts, but the idea of completing a trip like this on a smaller vessel really wooed me. So I went out, and got one, and did it.
Did you love paddling right away?
I picked it up real quick. I won’t go back to my kayak, that’s for sure.
What was your strategy for running rapids?
Being as small and self-supported as I was, I was focused on staying dry. I never really had to run down the middle - I’d mostly stay off to the side and hit the bonepiles and rockyards. Sometimes I’d get to a spot where I could step off and be ankle-deep. Most of the big, big water I was able to skirt off to the side.
How many times did you swim?
Did you ever get any raft support on your trip?
I hooked up with a couple of rafting groups. Anything that was Class III, I’d try and get hooked up with a (commercial) group for safety reasons.
What advice would you give for someone going on an expedition SUP trip?
Having buddies along is always more fun.