big ben challenge and london crossing on september 23, 2018
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 incrases to £65. Limited number of boards (11'6, 12'6 and 4m) are available for hire on a first-come first-served basis, £25.
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.
- London Crossing - 15.5km Putney Embankment - Shadwell Basin
- Big Ben Challenge - 20km Putney Embankment - Big Ben - Putney Embankment
Course maps will be available shortly.
Please note that this schedule is provisional. Exact timings will be provided closer to the date.
Sunday, 23 September, 2018
Race briefing, Putney Embankment
07:45 Race starts, Putney Embankment
09:30 Race finishes, Shadwell Basin
11:00 Challenge starts, Putney Embankment
15:00 Challenge finishes, Putney Embankment
15:30 Prize giving, Putney Embankment
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.
Optional Saturday paddle and social
We’re looking to organise a paddle for the event participants on the Thames on Saturday, September 22, 2018, followed by a social get-together in the late afternoon. More details shortly.
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.
- All paddlers must attend the event briefing and follow all the rules highlighted. For safety reasons, you will not be allowed onto water, if you miss the briefing.
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) are mandatory, either the traditional "jacket" or of the pull-cord inflating belt type.
- Quick-release waist leashes are recommended. Ankle leashes are not permitted.
- Paddlers must display bib numbers as instructed at registration.
- Any deviance off the designated route may lead to disqualification.
- Entry fees are not transferable to any other person or event.
- Unfortunately, entry to events is restricted to persons over 18 only.
- Participants grant their permission to use any photographs, videotape, motion pictures, recordings or any other record of this event.
- The event organisers’ will be final in all cases.
Link to 2018 results will be published here.
Get in touch
Updates available on the Big Ben Challenge Facebook page.