what-is-ganges-sup

What is Ganges SUP?

GangesSUP is a record breaking, world’s first descent of the entire length of the river Ganges by stand up paddleboard. An expedition for purpose, the vision and mission of this journey is to empower awareness and advocacy for cleaner water, via adventure.

On 3rd October 2016, the expedition kicked off on foot in Gaumukh, the 'visible' source of the Ganges at the altitude of 4100m in the Indian Himalayas. On 11th January 2017-101 days and 2977 kms later, the team of Shilpika Gautam and Kumaran Mahalingam paddled to the mouth of the Ganges at GangarSagar

The expedition marks a world record- Shilpika Gautam broke the world record for the longest continuous stand up paddle boarded distance by a female in 1 journey, source to sea - current Guinness world record is 2231 kms while Shilpika covered well over 2500 kms!

The issue of water pollution is certainly not unique to the Ganges alone - in fact, as one of the greatest rivers in the world which supports well over 500 million people, the Ganges symbolizes the scale and urgency with which we must all be engaged in saving our water bodies - be it ponds, canals, rivers or oceans.

By sharing raw, unbiased stories from our expedition be it photo, footage or writing , we endeavored to highlight the positive stories from this river-of-life, of the challenges that the least connected and underprivileged living along its banks face on a daily basis, and how public/private efforts are transforming their quality of life, one village at a time.

We are especially proud of our active partnership with WaterAid India - wateraidindia.in/get-involved/participate/poopfreeganga/ and our work on the conservation of the Ganga River Dolphins

 

 

the-route

The Route

Our Expedition itinerary was divided into 3 phases

ganga2

Ganges Source to Sea

Phase 1- We kicked off the expedition at Gaumukh on October 3rd – from there a combination of trekking and cycling took us down to Devprayag via Uttarkashi. Devprayag, which is at the confluence of rivers Bhagirathi and Alaknanda also marks the start of the River Ganges proper.

– Phase 2- Starting 15th October, it was time to get on our inflatable Stand up Paddleboards to paddle the stretch of very fast and rather dangerous white waters until Rishikesh.Having somewhat survived , we then cycled from Rishikesh to Haridwar due to lack of enough water to paddle.

– Phase 3 – Commencing 20th October, Haridwar marked the start of the longest phase of our expedition I.e. the touring section. It is here that the river leaves the Himalayas and flows out of the state of Uttarkhand into UttarPradesh, Bihar, jharkhand ,west Bengal and finally the sea.

 

in-the-media

Ganges SUP In the Media

meet-the-team

Meet the Team

Shilpika Gautam
Shilpika Gautam

Shilpika Gautam

- Optimist self-starter-
- Passionate about sustainable development & empowerment -
- Global citizen with multiple professional hats

Shilps was born in the historic city of Agra and after having spent a huge chunk of her formative years in New Delhi , her constant wanderlust took her to 3 different continents for study and work. She has now called London home for 6 odd years.

In her previous professional avatars Shilps hustled financial derivatives for a few big banks, consulted CEOs on technology transformations & also squeezed-in a top 10 global MBA.

The past year has seen Shilps’ life do a 180 in order to realise some life long dreams-An undeniable desire to reconnect with the motherland, a natural proclivity towards adventure, a search for deeper & altruistic purpose and hopes of making the smallest of positive, sustainable changes for our environment led to the birth of GangesSup .

When Shilps is not dreaming of all things Ganga, she can be found planning her next getaway. eating her way around the world, spreading the love for warm hugs, unicorns and glitter all around, and most definitely learning something new every day.

Kumaran Mahalingam
Kumaran Mahalingam

Kumaran Mahalingam

Kumaran is a geologist passionate about standup paddleboarding and loves photography, conserving water bodies and ecosystem, spreading awareness
about environment conservation among the public especially school childrens.

Certified Wilderness First Responder from National Outdoor Leadership School, USA. Undergone several HSE trainings including Basic First Aid,
Hazards Identification & Risk Management Programs.
Limca book record holder for first long distance standup paddling into open sea, India –
http://www.limcabookofrecords.in/record-detail.aspx?rid=58
Another Two attempts has been recognised as Two different records for Limca book of records – 2017
As an Experiential teacher reached more than 1000 school kids through Bay of life’s outdoor learning programs, which builds strong relationship with
the environment and provides the required scientific know how. Primarily based in Kovalam,chennai, we provide hands-on environmental science
programs for children, helping them connect to the natural world.
As an SUP Explorer & Instructor – Since beginning of 2015, Explored and well documented more than 22 waterbodies (Open waters – sea ;
Estuary; Lakes; Rivers) out of which 20 from India, 1 from Srilanka, 1 from Malaysia by paddleboarding. For this SUP exploration, I travelled more
than 25000kms and > 550kms of paddleboarding experience in different water bodies from flat to very choppy conditions.

Spike Reid
Spike Reid

Spike Reid

- International Mountain Leader -
- Photographer -
- Writer

Just over a year ago Spike qualified as an International Mountain leader. He has led expeditions and tours to over 25 countries, travelled through jungle, across steppe and seas, and over deserts, mountain ranges and ice caps.

Spike worked at the Royal Geographical Society for over three years in events. He also worked on the Olympics and the Coldest Journey Expedition, supporting the Antarctic team led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes with education engagement.

He has undertaken a series of journeys by stand-up paddleboard including the first circumnavigation of the island of Martinique, crossing England from the mouth of the Avon to Putney, and paddling the length of the Algarve in Portugal. He has recently completed the training to become a BSUPA paddleboard instructor.

Spike is also an experienced public speaker, writer and photographer.

As a man of the mountains looking to get more involved in paddleboarding, this journey from the high peaks to the sea is apt and beckoning.

Pascal Dubois
Pascal Dubois

Pascal Dubois

- Outdoor buff -
- Planetary Simplicity Seeker -
- Environmental Scientist -

Pascal has recently finished his MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College where he has been researching plastic pollution. He is a keen surfer and diver.

Following his training as an Environmental Scientist (BSc), Pascal has spent extensive periods undertaking marine conservation research, primarily in Scotland’s first No Take Zone on the Isle of Arran and lately in the Celtic Sea and Bristol/English Channel.

Throughout previous visits to India for both travel and work Pascal has pondered over how to address some of the environmental difficulties that come across so starkly here. Pascal is eager to expand the scientific purpose of GangesSUP through water quality sampling and citizen science on-route. The project also ties together some of his wider interests: photography, acting and sketching.

Pascal’s pursuit of a purpose-driven career is largely spurred by his brother’s condition – who’s disabilities may be linked with environmental contamination.

Shilpika Gautam

Shilpika Gautam

- Optimist self-starter-
- Passionate about sustainable development & empowerment -
- Global citizen with multiple professional hats

Shilps was born in the historic city of Agra and after having spent a huge chunk of her formative years in New Delhi , her constant wanderlust took her to 3 different continents for study and work. She has now called London home for 6 odd years.

In her previous professional avatars Shilps hustled financial derivatives for a few big banks, consulted CEOs on technology transformations & also squeezed-in a top 10 global MBA.

The past year has seen Shilps’ life do a 180 in order to realise some life long dreams-An undeniable desire to reconnect with the motherland, a natural proclivity towards adventure, a search for deeper & altruistic purpose and hopes of making the smallest of positive, sustainable changes for our environment led to the birth of GangesSup .

When Shilps is not dreaming of all things Ganga, she can be found planning her next getaway. eating her way around the world, spreading the love for warm hugs, unicorns and glitter all around, and most definitely learning something new every day.

Kumaran Mahalingam

Kumaran Mahalingam

Kumaran is a geologist passionate about standup paddleboarding and loves photography, conserving water bodies and ecosystem, spreading awareness
about environment conservation among the public especially school childrens.

Certified Wilderness First Responder from National Outdoor Leadership School, USA. Undergone several HSE trainings including Basic First Aid,
Hazards Identification & Risk Management Programs.
Limca book record holder for first long distance standup paddling into open sea, India –
http://www.limcabookofrecords.in/record-detail.aspx?rid=58
Another Two attempts has been recognised as Two different records for Limca book of records – 2017
As an Experiential teacher reached more than 1000 school kids through Bay of life’s outdoor learning programs, which builds strong relationship with
the environment and provides the required scientific know how. Primarily based in Kovalam,chennai, we provide hands-on environmental science
programs for children, helping them connect to the natural world.
As an SUP Explorer & Instructor – Since beginning of 2015, Explored and well documented more than 22 waterbodies (Open waters – sea ;
Estuary; Lakes; Rivers) out of which 20 from India, 1 from Srilanka, 1 from Malaysia by paddleboarding. For this SUP exploration, I travelled more
than 25000kms and > 550kms of paddleboarding experience in different water bodies from flat to very choppy conditions.

Spike Reid

Spike Reid

- International Mountain Leader -
- Photographer -
- Writer

Just over a year ago Spike qualified as an International Mountain leader. He has led expeditions and tours to over 25 countries, travelled through jungle, across steppe and seas, and over deserts, mountain ranges and ice caps.

Spike worked at the Royal Geographical Society for over three years in events. He also worked on the Olympics and the Coldest Journey Expedition, supporting the Antarctic team led by Sir Ranulph Fiennes with education engagement.

He has undertaken a series of journeys by stand-up paddleboard including the first circumnavigation of the island of Martinique, crossing England from the mouth of the Avon to Putney, and paddling the length of the Algarve in Portugal. He has recently completed the training to become a BSUPA paddleboard instructor.

Spike is also an experienced public speaker, writer and photographer.

As a man of the mountains looking to get more involved in paddleboarding, this journey from the high peaks to the sea is apt and beckoning.

Pascal Dubois

Pascal Dubois

- Outdoor buff -
- Planetary Simplicity Seeker -
- Environmental Scientist -

Pascal has recently finished his MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College where he has been researching plastic pollution. He is a keen surfer and diver.

Following his training as an Environmental Scientist (BSc), Pascal has spent extensive periods undertaking marine conservation research, primarily in Scotland’s first No Take Zone on the Isle of Arran and lately in the Celtic Sea and Bristol/English Channel.

Throughout previous visits to India for both travel and work Pascal has pondered over how to address some of the environmental difficulties that come across so starkly here. Pascal is eager to expand the scientific purpose of GangesSUP through water quality sampling and citizen science on-route. The project also ties together some of his wider interests: photography, acting and sketching.

Pascal’s pursuit of a purpose-driven career is largely spurred by his brother’s condition – who’s disabilities may be linked with environmental contamination.

environment

Environment

From its headwaters high in the Himalayas, The River travels under many guises. In ancient religious Sanksrit texts it is historically referred to as “eternally pure”; modern perspectives take a more negative stance – referring to it as a “lethal cocktail”.

The Ganges is revered in India and features in many beautiful myths and legends. Sadly the pressures from global trade and increasing population have left a dark smudge on this once pristine ribbon of life.

LEARN MORE




science

Science

The misuse of science has led to real and continued damage to the environment and our cultural, moral and spiritual lives in the name of rationality and progress. Whilst the pursuit of science can be seen in a harsh light, it is critical in helping us to get out of the mess we are in.

The team are keen to collaborate with research bodies in India and abroad who may be interested in undertaking a water quality analysis along the length of the Ganges. If you’d like to work with us, please get in touch.

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partners

Partners

We are ever so grateful for all the support we have received all the way through from the initial days when this project was little more than a fleeting dream right through to logistical support during the adventure. You all rock and we love you!

Our particular thanks go out to the following organisations. Without your generous collaboration and continued backing we wouldn’t be able to take on the risks that this adventure will deliver.

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CONTACT THE GANGES SUP TEAM

The team will have limited comms on the water but would love to hear from you. Please get in touch, and share what you would like to bring to this expedition.