David Cornthwaite

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Dave Cornthwaite
Born David Cornthwaite
(1979-10-25) 25 October 1979 (age 35)
United Kingdom
Residence London, England
Occupation Adventurer
Motivational speaker

Dave Cornthwaite, (born David Cornthwaite, 25 October 1979) is an English adventurer, writer and filmmaker.[1] He is best known for his Expedition1000[2][3] project, a plan to undertake 25 separate journeys of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport. To date he has completed eight journeys from the project.[4] He set a Guinness World Record for travelling the furthest distance by longboard after he skated 5823 km (3618 miles) from Perth to Brisbane in Australia in 2006.[5][6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Cornthwaite was born in the UK, and attended Stamford School in Lincolnshire.. Before attending the University of Swansea to study International Development in 1999, he went on a gap year teaching scheme organised by the Africa & Asia Venture to Uganda. This gave Cornthwaite his first taste of adventure, and he would later go on to support the AV Foundation through his expeditions.

During his university years, Cornthwaite continued to travel and engage in charitable ventures, managing an annual charity hitchike to Morocco and spending a significant amount of time in Africa and South America. During the final two years of his studies, Cornthwaite was the Editor of the Swansea University newspaper. Following graduation, he pursued a career in graphic design and founded his own newspaper.


BoardFree UK[edit]

Cornthwaite's first professional expedition saw him become the first person to skateboard the length of Britain, along the famous End-to-end route from John O'Groats to Lands End in the summer of 2006. The 896 mile skate lasted 34 days, including three rest days which were required due to the severe blisters Cornthwaite suffered during the journey. Cornthwaite completed the journey on 2 June 2006.[8]

BoardFree Australia[edit]

Between August 2006 and January 2007 Cornthwaite travelled 3618 miles across Australia from Perth to Brisbane. This expedition secured Cornthwaite the Guinness World Record at the time for the longest distance travelled by skateboard. The record has since been broken by Rob Thomson from New Zealand. During the expedition Cornthwaite skated across the Nullarbor Plain a semi-arid area in southern Australia which stretches approximately 1100 km from east to west.

During the expedition Cornthwaite received a significant amount of press coverage [9][10] both at home and in Australia and earned himself the nickname of the "Mad Pom." The journey raised over £20,000 for three charities including Sailability Australia.


Following BoardFree, Cornthwaite conceived Expedition1000,[2][11] a career project that is expected to take approximately 12 years to complete. Cornthwaite intends to undertake 25 separate journeys of 1000 miles or more, each using a different form of non-motorised transport. To date, Cornthwaite has completed eight of the 25 journeys, BoardFree Australia constituting the first in the series. The project will cover every continent, cross the three major oceans and see Cornthwaite reach both the north pole and the south pole. By its conclusion, Cornthwaite will have travelled a total distance in excess of the circumference of the Earth around the Equator.

Murray River Kayak (October - December 2009)[edit]

Between 6 October and 19 December 2009, Cornthwaite travelled the length of Australia's Murray River on foot and by kayak, documenting the human, environmental and climatic factors contributing to the decline in health of the river.[12][13]

From the river's early moments high in the Australian Alps, Cornthwaite struggled through heavy blizzards and deep snow before finally settling into his kayak for the final 2350 km. Passing along the border of New South Wales and Victoria, the Murray eventually enters South Australia and takes a southerly route to the Indian Ocean for its final 500 km.

Dave is now an Ambassador for the Blue Climate and Oceans Project, and has gone on to paddle and swim other mighty rivers, like the Mississippi and the Missouri.[14]

Vancouver to Vegas by Tandem (April 2011)[edit]

Between 3 and 16 April 2011, Cornthwaite was joined by Sebastian Terry to travel from Vancouver to Las Vegas by tandem bicycle. The journey covered 1400 miles and lasted 14 days, covering five US states and involved travelling through mountain ranges and across desert plains. Neither Cornthwaite nor Terry had ever ridden a tandem bicycle when they began the journey.[15]

Mississippi River by Stand Up Paddleboard (June–September 2011)[edit]

On 19 June 2011, Cornthwaite began his journey 2404 miles down the Mississippi River from source to sea on a stand up paddleboard (SUP). His descent of the Mississippi River took 68 days of paddling, 82 in total, and was the first time anyone had Stand Up Paddled the Mississippi carrying all of their own gear.[16] Passing through 9 States and either through or over 43 dams (29 dams, all downstream from St Anthony's Falls in Minneapolis, including locks). Dave carried everything he needed to survive in drybags strapped to the deck of his board.

Mexico to Hawaii by Sailing Boat (March 2012)[edit]

In March 2012, Cornthwaite and a crew of 10 sailed from Cabo, Mexico to Honolulu, Hawaii, completing his fifth adventure of Expedition1000. The 3156 mile journey took a total of 17 days. Alongside the sailing, in which all members of the crew had a hand, Dave and Pangaea Explorations Programme Director Emily Penn held a series of workshops ranging from ocean science to social media all the way through to a diagnosis of personal happiness and purpose.[17]

Memphis to Miami by Bike Car (24 April 2012)[edit]

Cornthwaite took 28 days to cycle 1000.3 miles across the United States in a custom built 'Bike Car' named Priscilla. The vehicle was built by Paul Everitt, who had taken it over 7000 km across Europe and Canada before letting Dave use it for his expedition.[18] The Trip saw an early set back when just 4 hours out of Memphis, a speeding car collided with the chase vehicle (only due to be present for the first day to provide protection against Memphis traffic). It spun and knocked the Bikecar, including Cornthwaite and his fellow adventurer Rod Wellington, off the road. Luckily, nobody was injured and Cornthwaite decided he would continue the journey, but from further south in Crystal Springs, MS.

Lower Missouri River by Swimming (10 August 2012)[edit]

Cornthwaite's swim down the Missouri River was made into a short film by Miguel Endara.[19] Dave began his journey at Chamberlain, South Dakota and began swimming towards St Louis, Missouri, towing his gear with him on a carbon fibre raft. It took Cornthwaite 58 days to complete his journey, pulling and pushing his gear on a raft donated by British swimmer Haydn Welch. It took one month - half of the expedition's allotted time - to cover the first 180 miles, and just one more month to cover the remaining 820 miles.[20]

Western Europe by Elliptigo (30 April 2013)[edit]

Dave Cornthwaite travelled 1970 miles in 49 days crossing Western Europe on his elliptical bicycle in 2012. He made the journey with fellow adventurer Squash Falconer.[21] Cornthwaite's journey ended early on account of a ruptured disc, forcing him to retire after 7 weeks and almost 2000 miles on the road to prevent longer term damage. Squash continued on to Paris. The pair rode through six countries engaging with local bike clubs, running groups, regional fitness initiatives, competitive events, and elite athletes with the goal of inspiring people to say “yes” more in their lives and get active.[22]

Atacama Desert, Chile, by Whike (April 2014)[edit]

Cornthwaite was joined by Jamie Fulbrook and Ned Aufenast on a 1009 mile journey through the Atacama Desert. The trio spent 19 days travelling North from Santiago, riding through the World's driest desert on the Whike, an innovative combination of pedal powered recumbent tricycle and a sail. The landscape and conditions made Cornthwaite's expedition a challenging one, not least because Chile's turbulent topography meant that in total the team had to ascend 18,000 metres of hills. They also had to deal with frequent earthquakes and freezing sleeping conditions.[23]

Western Europe by Ice Trike (April/May 2014)[edit]

Just 7 days after he completed his expedition across Chile by Whike, Dave Cornthwaite completed a 23 day, 1106 mile journey from the German town of Germersheim to Falmouth, Cornwall by Ice Trike. The Ice Trike is a recumbent tricycle, built for speed and agility. There were several aspects of the trip which differed it from his other adventures - firstly, Cornthwaite's mode of transport was decided by public vote, the Ice Trike proving more popular than the Varibike and Troytec Revolution Low Rider, both innovative variations of the classic bicycle design. Secondly, his route was determined by social media interaction during the course of the journey. Cornthwaite followed recommendations on which roads to take, and accepted offers from fans and followers who offered him a place to stay along the way. Thirdly, he encouraged people to join him along the way and cycle alongside him. Cornthwaite was joined by dozens of people and aimed to reach over 1,000 'participation miles' over the course of the adventure.[24]

Other adventures[edit]

Bath 2 London by Stand Up Paddleboard[edit]

In June 2010, Cornthwaite was joined by fellow English adventurer Sarah Outen to paddle 150 miles from Bath to London. The journey was designed to celebrate and raise awareness of the inland waterways of Britain. The journey lasted 5 days and concluded beneath London’s Tower Bridge on World Oceans Day, 8 June 2011.[25]

Lake Geneva Crossing[edit]

In April 2010, Cornthwaite was joined by Australian Sebastian Terry as they became the first people to cross Lake Geneva on stand up paddleboards. The crossing was 86.9 km, a distance which they covered in less than two days despite facing challenging weather conditions on the first day. Cornthwaite has produced a documentary of the expedition entitled "Lake Geneva Crossing" which is currently available on DVD.[26]

Human Powered Hydrofoil (Aquaskipper)[edit]

In 2007, briefly after returning from Australia after his world-record breaking skateboarding journey, Cornthwaite became the face of Aquaskipper, a human powered hydrofoil. In September 2007 Cornthwaite set a new British 100m speed record of 21.9 seconds on the Aquaskipper. He also featured widely in the media, including demonstrating the Aquaskipper to Phil Tufnell on The One Show.[27]

72 Hours Awake[edit]

Inspired by sleep deprivation training used by the Australian Air Force, Cornthwaite and his good friend Sebastian Terry decided to stay awake for 3 whole days and nights.[14] The pair started at 8 am on Sunday 28 November 2010 and keeping themselves busy throughout the 72 Hours with activities such as stand up comedy, speed dating, guesting on breakfast radio and even captaining opposing teams of Aussie celebrities during a charity wheelchair basketball match. The event raised over $1000 for Camp Quality, Terry's chosen charity.

1000 Photos[edit]

On 1 January 2011 Cornthwaite started his '1000 Photos' project, in which he took a self-portrait photo every day for 1000 days.[14] He reached 1000 days on 27 September 2013. Cornthwaite's photos capture many moments of his various adventures across land, ocean and river.

50 Ways to Make £50[edit]

Cornthwaite is currently working on a project called 50-50, which explores the wide variety of ways that a people earn money.[14] His aim is to try the most random jobs around and earn £50 for doing them. Cornthwaite plans to turn his experiences into a book and deliver the message that one person doesn't have to be stuck in one job.

Say Yes More[edit]

'Say Yes More' is the underlying philosophy referenced by Cornthwaite as being one of the driving forces behind his adventures.[14] It is an ideology by which Cornthwaite tries to live by, which emphasises the importance of cultivating a positive, healthy mindset. In his writing and public speaking, Cornthwaite attempts to communicate the fulfillment that can be achieved by concentrating on valuable life experiences as the primary source of one's happiness, as opposed to material possessions. One of his main messages is centered around adopting this outlook - to be open to new experiences, to reduce our dependency on consumption as a means of gratification and not to be afraid of chasing our dreams.


Cornthwaite writes prolifically about his journeys, both through his blog, freelance magazine contributions [28] and his published books.[29]

Boardfree (2008)[edit]

Cornthwaite's first book based on the his world record breaking skate across Australia was published in 2008, entitled "BoardFree: The Story of an Incredible Skateboard Journey across Australia." Over 10,000 copies of BoardFree have been sold worldwide, and it is used as teaching reference material in some schools internationally.[30]

Date (2012)[edit]

In 2008, Cornthwaite took a brief break from adventuring to write a book about dating entitled "Date: Confessions of a temporary serial dater." [14] The book centers on his experiences as he attempts to date 100 women in 100 days in London, primarily using the popular UK internet dating website My Single Friend. The book was published in January 2012.

Life in the Slow Lane (2013)[edit]

Cornthwaite's second book discusses the crossroads he found himself in 6 years after quitting his job to become a full-time adventurer.[14] Driven by a promise never to get caught up in the rat race again, Cornthwaite writes about the next eight months, which became a resolution to travelling slow, living life by moments, welcoming the kindness of strangers and embracing as many new opportunities as possible.


Although fundraising is not the purpose of his adventures, through Expedition1000 Cornthwaite is hoping to raise £1,000,000 for charity - both through his own journeys and those which he inspires. To date Cornthwaite has raised almost £40,000 for the two charities he supports, the AV Foundation and CoppaFeel. The AV Foundation works in East African schools and communities developing water system infrastructure to ensure the availability of electricity and safe, potable water for all. CoppaFeel is a breast cancer awareness charity which aims to emphasise the importance of breast examination in younger people. As well as informing young people about breast cancer, CoppaFeel's active campaign work strives to instil confidence in people wishing to seek professional advice when concerns arise. The ultimate goal of CoppaFeel is to reduce the incidence of late detection or misdiagnosed breast cancer.

Other work[edit]

Outside of his expeditions and writing, Cornthwaite works as a motivational speaker, giving speeches worldwide to corporations, schools, and other organizations.[31][32] Cornthwaite gave a speech for the TEDx Youth event in Bath in 2011, talking passionately about his philosophy of adventure and how he came to be where he is today.[33]

He also makes documentaries, both of his own expeditions and for other British adventurers. Cornthwaite is an ambassador for The Blue Project, a climate and oceans project which brings together world-class sports men and women to promote sport, healthy living and a clean environment and launch the BLUE Mile, a mass participation event designed to bring together coastal communities to celebrate our water environments towards London 2012.[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.escapethecity.org/heroes/353-dave-cornthwaite.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ a b http://www.wideworldmag.com/features/dave-cornthwaite-s-expedition1000.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ http://www.metro.co.uk/news/pictures/photos-02319/pictures-of-the-day-june-22/4.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/#/expeditions/4541355449
  5. ^ "Skateboarder sets epic Oz record". BBC News. 22 January 2007. 
  6. ^ McVeigh, Karen (23 January 2007). "Briton claims 3,600-mile world record". The Guardian (London). 
  7. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/cornwall/content/articles/2006/06/09/record_skateboard_feature.shtml.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ http://www.endtoenders.co.uk/news_detail.php?id=17.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ http://www.tntdownunder.com/article/49051/interview-with-skateboarder-dave-cornthwaite.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  10. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/#/media-boardfree/4548006621.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/#/expedition1000/4541752719.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ http://www.murrayriver.com.au/dave-cornthwaite-big-paddle/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  13. ^ http://www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk/news/4824639.Trowbridge_paddler_sets_canoe_record_on_Australian_adventure/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ a b c d e f g [1] http://www.davecornthwaite.com/kayak/4579328129
  15. ^ http://beyondlimitsmagazine.com/dave-cornthwaite-and-the-admirable-attitude-of-sarah-outen.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/sup/4579327515.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/sail/4579327320.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/bikecar/4579326370.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  19. ^ http://vimeo.com/61766367.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/swim/4579326865.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ http://www.squashfalconer.com/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  22. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/elliptigo/4579082426.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/whike/4581948502.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  24. ^ http://www.davecornthwaite.com/ice-trike/4583771408.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  25. ^ https://bristol.indymedia.org.uk/article/690165?show_preferences=true.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ http://www.wideworldmag.com/features/great-big-paddle-across-lake-geneva.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  27. ^ http://www.aquaskipperuk.com/newsletters/newsletter.cfm?NewsletterID=10.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  28. ^ http://www.mensfitness.co.uk/exercise/sports/6631/adventure_holidays_on_a_budget.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  29. ^ Cornthwaite, Dave (2008). Board Free. Portico. p. 279. ISBN 1-906032-19-X. 
  30. ^ Cornthwaite, Dave (2008). Portico. p. 279. ISBN 1-906032-19-X.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ http://www.adventuretravellive.com/visitor_information_show_features_explorer_workshop.php.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ http://blog.escapethecity.org/esc-wednesdays/marchs-esc-wednesday-dave-cornthwaite/.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  33. ^ [2] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j4uPOnP7r-g
  34. ^ http://www.theblueproject.org/1641.  Missing or empty |title= (help)

Further reading[edit]

  • [3] Sailworld coverage of Mississippi Expedition 2011
  • [4] Discovery News coverage of Mississippi Expedition 2011
  • [5] Dave Cornthwaite in the Daily Mail
  • [6] Dave Cornthwaite and The Blue Project
  • [7] Talking Technology with Dave Cornthwaite
  • [8] Interview with Dave Cornthwaite in Exceed Possibility
  • [9] Dave Cornthwaite and Nite Watches
  • [10] Dave Cornthwaite Feature in Wide World Magazine
  • [11] Interview with Dave Cornthwaite in Beyond Limits Magazine
  • [12] Dave Cornthwaite on the SUP Radio Show

External links[edit]

  • [13] Official Website