big ben challenge and london crossing on september 23, 2018

        Big Ben Race 2017 

Active360 are excited to bring SUP onto the Thames through the heart of London in 2018. 

On September 23, 2018, there will be two SUP events on the Thames: London Crossing Race and the Big Ben Challenge.  

The London Crossing will be able to host 30 experienced SUP racers. This will be the first ever SUP race right through central London, taking the competitors on an iconic 15.5km stretch of the Thames, from Putney to Shadwell, just past Tower Bridge. The racers will have to deal with river currents and traffic.

The second event on the day is the Big Ben Challenge, open to 200+ experienced and confident paddlers. The 20km tour runs from Putney Embankment, where the Boat Race starts, all the way to Big Ben and back.

The SUP  events are part of the Foreshore Festival, organised by triple-Olympic gold medallist Andrew Triggs-Hodge. The festival will be held at Putney Embankment on the same day to celebrate the fabulous and unique environment of the Tidal Thames, through recreation, environmental engagement and safety. The event is sponsored and facilitated by Tideway, who are working to clean up the river by building London's 'super-sewer', the Thames Tideway Tunnel.


For the Big Ben Challenge, please complete registration on Webscorer. Early bird entry is £50, after June 23, 2018, the fee increases to £65.

How experienced of a paddler should you be? Make sure to get sufficient training before the event, so that you are able to paddle the event distance of 20km in variable conditions, potentially into a headwind and for a distance against a gentle tidal current, in under four hours. If you have a disability or medical condition which may affect your ability to complete the course, please provide details.


Course maps will be available shortly. 

Provisional timings

Please note that this schedule is provisional. Exact timings will be provided closer to the date.

Sunday, 23 September, 2018

London Crossing

Registration - 7am-7:40
Race Briefing - 7:40-7:50
Race starting time -  8:10
Finish at Shadwell by: 10:00

Big Ben
Registration -  9.30 - 10.30
Board & equipment collection - 9:30 -11:00
Challenge briefing - 11:15 (15mins)
Challenge Start - 12 noon
Challenge end by -  15:00

How to get there

Both SUP events launch from Putney Embankment, London SW15, UK. Participants are encouraged to consider public transport or car sharing. Putney Bridge Underground, Putney Overground and East Putney Underground are all within walking distance from Putney Embankment. The area is served by many buses.

Participants will be allowed to offload their boards on the Embankment.

There is limited parking available on the surrounding roads. You may have to walk 10-15 minutes to the foreshore, so plan your journey accordingly. More details about paid parking around Putney and Barn Elms nearby will be available soon. For further information on parking zones, please click here

The London Crossing Race finishes at Shadwell Basin. Boards will be transported back by trailer from Shadwell Basin and racers will be brought back by mini-cabs.


There are plenty of affordable hotels and B&Bs in Putney and the surrounding areas.The list below is not exhaustive, however, we would recommend the following:

Hotel                           Location           Tel                           

MK Hotel London               Putney                   020 8246 6255       

Premier Inn Putney            Putney Bridge        0871 527 8674

The Lodge Hotel                Putney                    020 8874 1598

The Captain Cook              Putney                   020 7381 4975

Premier Inn Wandsworth   Wandsworth           0871 527 4986

The Brewers Inn                Wandsworth           020 8874 4128

Coach and Horses Kew     Kew Bridge            020 8940 1208

Premier Inn Kew Bridge     Kew Bridge            0871 527 8670

Note: Most of these hotels offer deals and discounts throughout the year, all of which will be displayed on their websites. For group bookings we would recommend calling to book, as most can offer discounts. 


Volunteers, we need your help! An epic event like us cannot happen without the help of volunteers on water or off the water.  Volunteers take on many important tasks, from helping at registration, marshalling, managing info desks, and baggage points. Please register your interest by emailing us. 



Link to 2018 results will be published here.

Get in touch

If you have any questions, or want to become a partner, volunteer or just get involved, we're here to help! Follow us on Facebook for current information.

Updates available on the Big Ben Challenge Facebook page.


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