Suwannee River Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) Georgia to the Gulf

I originally planned to paddle the Suwannee River from Griffis Fish Camp in Georgia to the Gulf in one long segment, as a race with minimal sleep. I changed my mind after the first night, and decided that rather than miss all the scenery and be exhausted the whole time, that I would break the river up in to 50-70 mile segments, doing a few 2 or maybe 3 day paddles, with full nights camping in between.

Following are my paddle notes from each segment as I complete them, working my way to the Gulf. Also links to photo album of the adventure and videos are below.

LInk to Photo Album of the adventure

Little Shoals on a SUP video

Suwannee River on a SUP. Watch to end and get a laugh :)

SEGMENT 1 Griffis Fish Camp to White Springs

 

First Segment Paddle

My Suwannee River 230 has now become my Suwannee River 65 + 40 + 60 + … = 230 tour instead.
On Sunday and Monday, I stand-up paddleboarded 65 miles from Giffis Fish Camp in Georgia, at the Okefenokee Swamp to White Springs, Florida. I stopped there, deciding I believe I am finished doing the sleep deprivation multi-day type events. The last few times I’ve done cycling or paddling events like this, I find I simply am not enjoying traveling through places at night and missing all the cool stuff there is to see, and being so exhausted I can’t remember the stuff I DO see in the daytime. Actually ‘racing’ the events, on 1-2 hours of sleep doesn’t seem so appealing to me after doing it for so many years. Kind of strange because I love the idea of it, but when I’m out there, I don’t want to get into that go-go-go mode.
Congratulations to Shane Perrin who DID paddle this ultra event in kickass fashion, finishing in 80+ hours, with long days and nights of paddling and minimal sleep. Awesome job Shane! Much respect!
BUT, my current plan going forward, is to slow it down and complete the rest of the River over the next few weeks, in 40-60 mile chunks. Mostly paddling all day, stopping shortly after dark, sleeping, then finishing the segment the next day. Tamara has been super following along and crewing, bringing back fond memories of her and the kids doing the same on many trail runs in the mountains out west. We had a lot of fun with this. I’ll be doing the next 40 miles starting tomorrow morning, from White Springs, FL to Suwannee River State Park.
For the two days I was out there, some pics attached, with notes for each.
Critter Count was very low for my first two days on the river… 1 fox, 2 deer, 2 turtles, ZERO alligators during the day, MANY eyes watching me at night though! AND best of all, in two days and 65 miles ( 72 by my GPS) of paddling, not one single power boat wake :)
I fell off my board 2 times, once when my fin got caught and stopped me cold, I went right over the front of the board. Then once when I was in about a foot of water, on my knees getting some things out of my deck bag, floating sidways, hit a rock and I rolled off the board like a turtle on his back. Either would have made pretty funny vidoes I believe.
Scenery was spectacular and there were SO many times I wanted to stop for photos or to explore an area, I ‘m going to do more of that for the rest of my segments. Water was very low and many places were quite challenging to get through. Tore up my fin and several good gashes in the board, though none broke through into the foam. I paddled the last several miles with my fin partially torn off, though I didn’t know that was what was causing the squirrely handling of the SUP.
At night,it was frustrating because you could not see where the shallow water or rocks were, then a fog started coming up off the water that eventually was so thick I could not see anything and stopped for the night. During that time, there was NO wind and some of the swirls in the water from the current were creating these little fog tornadoes that came up off the water in tall straight columns higher than my head, it was very cool.
Froze to death trying to sleep that night, it was in the 50’s I believe. I have warmer stuff for my night on the river tomorrow night.
So, I won’t do the whole Suwannee River in a single effort, but within the next month or two, I plan to have Stand Up Paddle boarded the entire Suwannee from beginning to end.


Segment 2 White Springs to Suwannee River State Park

 

Segment 2 SUP Suwannee

Segment 2 of my Suwannee River paddle board exploration completed. 42 miles from White Springs to Suwannee River State Park. Since I arrived after park closing I had to carry my board and stuff about a mile out to meet Tamara in the car.
A beautiful, relaxing paddle, after the first 20 miles , the water finally got deep enough that I could paddle without always hitting bottom.
I stopped, backtracked and took pictures many times, a very nice day.
Paddling very strong, I started SUP this summer and feel like I’m finally starting to get better at it.
Critter count… 4 deer (1 in photos)
1 turtle, 1 old man fishing, zero alligators, zero power boats :)
Probably be a week or 2 before I do another section. Wish I didn’t have to go back to work next week or I’d finish this thing up.

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