Pacing back and forth in the living room, cell phone pressed firmly to my ear I was wrestling with one feeling we are all familiar with…fear. On the other end was a concerned friend and mentor. His advice played to the fear even more,
“This isn’t a jab at your abilities but you’re probably going to swim the entire thing. You’ll take some sweet picture of you dropping into a rapid that you probably won’t clean. I don’t believe any paddler could successfully paddle the Zambezi River. It’s gnarly—those rapids are fucking huge.”
I knew he was right. When I was invited on this trip to be one of the first to attempt the mighty Zambezi River on a SUP I went through four stages of emotions: excitement to the point of shaking, overwhelmed with a motivation to do everything in my power to make this happen, doubt in my abilities, and then the ever crippling fear.
By the end of the phone call I was 90% decided I wasn’t going on this trip. The thoughts of violent crocodile attacks and possibility of long hold-downs were overwhelming. But still, despite these feelings (of which I was keeping almost entirely to myself) Nadia and I pushed forward with our proposals to make this trip happen.
We only had two weeks to raise the money. Often times, when I’ve gone to sponsors on such short notice, the response is always the same.
“This sounds awesome, we wish we could help, but it’s just too short of notice and our budget is being used elsewhere.”
I thought, why would this be any different? Within two days of sending out our proposals we were fully funded. Nadia called me, ecstatic!
“We’re going to Africa!!”
In that moment, all of those fears and doubts went away. The world seemed to open up in that moment, ripe with possibility and I was in total shock and awe.
So, here we are. Drinking South African white wine on our 13 hour flight to South Africa.
I’ve proposed many adventures in the past and what always seemed to be lacking in those proposals was purpose. There’s something about giong to a company, that’s already hard up for cash, and asking them to fund this awesome paddling adventure that they’ll get some sweet social media shots out of the deal. It just never felt right.
This trip is different. This trip has a cause, I’m throwing myself down one of the most notoriously rowdy rivers to save the rhinos. That’s right, rhinos. What does stand up paddling have to do with rhinos? Nothing really. The point is that this attempt to paddle the Zambezi is so nuts (the craziest thing I’ve ever agreed to do) that it’s bound to get some attention. Our mission is to use that attention and direct it towards something bigger—the poaching crisis in South Africa.
Our friends at RAW Adrenaline have created a campaign with the NPO Care for Wild called Stand Up 4 Rhinos. We hope that all the content around this descent shared by our sponsors will inspire people to donate to this cause and help us meet our goal of $10,000.
All we need is 1,000 people to donate $10!!! That’s one and a half cocktails!!! That $10 can have a huge impact in the preservation of an entire species. Care for Wild takes in and cares for baby rhinos that have been orphaned due to poaching. These offspring are the future of this species. With the Northern White Rhino species nearly extinct, with one male and two females left, both incapable of reproduction we may witness this species go extinct within the next two years. Please let’s not let this happen to the Southern White Rhino.
Thank you to everyone at http://rawadrenaline.org/ for making us a part of this incredible mission!
Visit www.standup4rhinos.org to learn more about this mission, the team involved, and to donate your $10.
This trip wouldn't be possible if weren't for our sponsors. So a big shout out to IceMule Coolers , LifeStraw , Big Agnes, Heidi Michele Design , And Shes Dope Too, Huppy Bar, and Local Honey Designs.
Follow me on my Instagram @bp.surfs and facebook (https://www.facebook.com/brittany.parker.52012). Everyday, Nadia and I will be doing LIVE Facebook broadcasts from our accounts to give you regular updates on our adventure. So be sure to keep checking back!
Wish me luck!