Relay FAQs

What is the River Thames Relay?

In September 2016 the first stand up paddle board (SUP) source to sea relay on the River Thames will be held as part of the Totally Thames Festival. The Festival is a celebration of this vital and mighty river and the relay will be one of over a hundred events held over the course of a month.

The relay will start in Thameshead where a baton of water will be collected and relayed down the river by SUP and watersports clubs, adventure groups and paddle enthusiasts.  A mass paddle, marathon and the first SUP race to Big Ben will also make up two of the major legs.  The relay will enter the very heart of London and end at the Thames Barrier.

The relay aims to encourage people to use the river recreationally whilst focusing on the need to work together to maintain its heath, especially with regards to the epidemic of plastic pollution. We will do this by means of education, clean ups on water and by encouraging people to take the #oneless pledge.

Where is the source of the Thames?

The official source of the Thames starts at Thameshead, Gloucester.

When does the Relay take place?

Thursday 1st September 2016 – Sunday 25th September 2016

How can I participate?

Join us for the SUP marathon from Shepperton to Kew and a mass paddle from Kew to Richmond return on 17th September. For more information and to register click here.

What if I don’t want to paddle board?

We welcome any other non-motorised forms of travel on the river. if this applies to you and you’d like to take part on a leg/s of the relay.

What if I don’t have any paddle boarding experience?

That’s ok, you have plenty of time to get a lesson before you join the relay. There a lots of options for SUP companies to take a lesson from dependent on where you live.  It is a requirement for the relay that all participants have had a few hits on the water in similar conditions prior to the relay.

Where can I get a lesson?

There are many SUP clubs and watersports organisations taking part in the relay this year that offer lessons. Please go to the route plan and click on the links for the groups participating including: Active360, Wake Up Docklands, SUP Bristol, SUP Gloucester, Epic SUP and Bray Lake Watersport.

Can I watch the relay?

Yes, although it’s more fun on participate on the water.

What events are taking place in London?

Stand Up for Good

We are proud to be working in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good and Waves for Change this year. Together they will be organising a SUP marathon from Shepperton to Kew and a mass paddle from Kew to Richmond return on 17th September. For more information and to register click here.

An evening paddle and talks at Chiswick Pier

On the 19th September there will be an evening paddle from Kew to Chiswick Pier from 630pm. This will form one small but important leg of the relay. There will be talks at Chiswick Pier Trust from 730pm, where different organisations will talk about the amazing work they do to help with maintaining the health of the River Thames and how we as a community can get involved. More information to come.

The Race to Big Ben

We are excited to announce the first ever SUP race to Big Ben on the 24th September. This is a 20km race starting from Putney to the iconic Big Ben and return. Please note this is open to those participating at race level only and there are limited places. For registration please click here  or for further enquires email race co-ordinator .