Lifestyle Rivers Wallace

PUT IN ~ December 2016: SUPping The Zambezi with Standup4Rhinos. by Mike Toughill with Paul Teasdale.

What a year 2016 has been. It’s winding down fast, but we still have one month to celebrate, reflect on what we’ve accomplished, and look forward to the new year. December is a month for giving, and do we have gifts in store for you! as well as an opportunity for you to give back… It all starts off with our cover photo.
This month is our first cover in two years of publication to feature an image from Africa. We pride ourselves on espousing a worldview, and this continent, so rich in amazing rivers and river people, is oftentimes overlooked. We are stoked to highlight the beauty that Zimbabwe possesses, and hope it fires you up to visit this amazing country for yourself to experience the Mighty Zambezi.

This cover is also the first time that whitewater Stand Up Paddleboarding has been featured on our cover. The previous 24 covers have featured kayaking and rafting, but the massive growth in skills and gear design have truly taken whitewater SUP to the next level. The scoffed at second cousin has arrived with a vengeance! Where it was once supposed the upstart craze would wilt and fade away, it now has become apparent that it’s here to stay.

Most importantly, this is the first time we have featured ladies on the cover. It was never a conscious decision not to… in fact we at Dirt Bag Paddlers have throughout our history celebrated the contributions that females have made to the community, and honored their roles on and off the river as true equals, if not in power than certainly in skill and potential. We’ve featured some outstanding articles written by and about the amazing women who color our community. We just never put it together by showing these rad DBQs on one of our covers before… UNTIL NOW!!

Brittany Parker in the Batoka Gorge

Of course, we’d like to point out the “lady” wearing the tutu in the middle of this month’s cover is none other than DBP Admin Paul Teasdale! Dressed for Halloween, he is however flanked by two top rank ambassadors of whitewater SUP, Brittany Parker and Nadia Almuti, who joined him and a cast of friends in his native Zimbabwe last month to run the Zambezi River for Standup4Rhinos. I asked Paul, the founder of RAW Adrenaline, to tell us more about this fantastic mission.

“Standup4Rhinos is a project by a group of adventure sports athletes with the specific goal to raise desperately needed funding for the rescue and care of orphaned baby rhinos in South Africa. The challenge was to complete the first descent of the huge whitewater rapids of the mighty Zambezi River on stand-up paddleboards. This had never been attempted before!”

“Many people out there are aware of the horrors of the current rhino poaching scourge and wonder what they can do to help. Well here’s a way that EVERYONE can do something to help. Follow the links to our fundraising site, open your hearts, open your wallets and donate! 100% (yes one hundred percent) of the funds raised will go directly to our chosen beneficiary: Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary NPC.”

“It’s a fact, rhinos are being killed at a rate faster than the population can breed so numbers are plummeting and this means every survivor counts and every baby counts. This makes the work of Care for Wild critically important as these orphans don’t stand a chance if left to fend for themselves in the bush. We’ve decided to take a stand and we believe every single one of us needs to #standup4rhinos.”

“It has been a busy time since we as a team successfully completed the first descent of the Zambezi River in the Batoka Gorge on stand-up paddleboards!! We have soooo much amazing photographic and video media to work through. It was truly a challenging adventure in many senses, which provided both euphoric highs and daunting lows. However we have not forgotten the main reason that this all came about. So far we have raised just over $2500 but our target is $10,000 so a HUGE thank you to those that have already shown their support financially and to those who haven’t had a chance yet…. PLEASE go to our fundraiser page and donate the value of a dozen beers or a large pizza…. it’s really not that much but collectively it will make a significant difference to the rhino orphans and their caregivers at the Sanctuary.”

“Thanks again to all these great brands that have supported our project: Sea to Summit – Outdoor Gear Sea to Summit South Africa Bundu Gear Chantelle Melzer Wildlife Photography Red Paddle Co Red Paddle SA Hala Gear FIRST ASCENT Pelican Products South Africa & Sub Saharan Region Pelican Professional Pelican Consumer GoPro World of Heroes IceMule Coolers LifeStraw Huppybar prAna Fluid Kayaks Sweet Protection Raw Adrenaline Black Composites Tom Varley Photography Adventure Zone The Marketing Techy.”

“And to my team members: Shane Raw, Bertrand Van Der Berg, Philip Claassens, Leon Pieters, Andrew Kellett, Brittany Parker, and Nadia Almuti. Out of the 8 paddlers, 6 are official RAWHeroes. You guys were amazing!”
“My friend Chantelle Melzer was the absolutely phenomenal photographer who captured the photo of us paddling out of the Batoka Gorge and the iconic photo of the rhino that put a face to our mission. She’s fantastic!”


We will be featuring a full length interview with Paul and the members of the SUP expedition later this month… Stay tuned!

There’s more in store! Look for Staff Writer Joe Mayer’s article on drift boating the Gauley. Kelsey Gaffigan delivers a powerful piece on how outdoor spaces are constructed as white spaces and how the lack of people of color in these spaces due to a myriad of reasons impacts our society as a whole. Just in time for the holidays, Associate Editor Wes Breitenbach teams up with Aaron Erdrich to introduce us to the down home dirtbag helmet craftsmen at Madcap. Sandra de Ugarte takes us behind the scenes at Peru’s Machu Picchu Kayak Festival, and Staff Writer Michael Potter relays the tale of dirtbaggin’ down the Ocoee River.

Happy Holidays from myself, the Staff, all of us at Dirt Bag Paddlers and! Thanks for reading!

Mike Toughill



By Chicago Mike

Editor-in-Chief "Chicago" Mike Toughill is co-founder of Dirt Bag Paddlers and former Peshtigo River Manager at Kosir's Rapid Rafts in Wisconsin. He's been Wallacing since 2003.

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