Alex Linnell

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Press Contact:  Jean Linnell
Cell Phone: 651-226-4223
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Press Release Full Text:
Alex Linnell to Break World SUP Record by Paddling the Mississippi River
May 25, 2011 Mendota Heights, MN The first person to ever Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) the length of the Mississippi River begins his trip June 1, 2011, from the headwaters of Lake Itasca in Minnesota. Best estimates make this a 2350 mile/60+ day trip (duration depending on water depth and current speed following the spring flooding). Mendota Heights resident Alex Linnell, 21, is paddling to raise money for the American Red Cross to assist Spring 2011 Mississippi River flood victims and to promote enthusiasm for the emerging sport of SUP in America’s Heartland.

Linnell grew up around water, trying new things and pushing personal limits. Three years ago he discovered SUP, using an old windsurfing board and oar paddle. To date he’s paddled on Lake Superior, the Gulf of Mexico and inter-coastal waters around Sarasota, FL, as well as a number of Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes. Linnell had the honor of paddle surfing with SUP professional Jeff Sweet in Malibu, January 2011. He also successfully competed in a SUP race in Clearwater, FL, in March 2011. Spending summers boating at his grandpa’s cabin in Northern Minnesota, participating in an extensive variety of Minnesota’s outdoor opportunities since he was a little boy (his dad works for the MN Department of Natural Resources), annual BWCA trips, buying his own kayak at 12, and teaching himself to windsurf five years ago after finding forgotten equipment, all set the stage for this adventurer.

The journey will be a test of agility, ability, survival, and willpower. SUP requires great core and leg strength, something which takes training, particularly for a river route. An early summer departure means that the flood season may still prove daunting. Navigation will be challenging and factors such as locks and dams will add occasional opportunities for experiencing how traveling by river differs from large bodies of water. Linnell will camp along the river at night as well as take an occasional sheltered stay along the way. The trip will be documented via Linnell’s website and an added safety feature of satellite GPS tracking; something that can both update his website as to his location as well as send out distress signals at any point along the Mississippi River. Equipment will be kept operational by a solar-powered charger and kept dry in adventure-appropriate gear. Information regarding sponsoring any portion of this history-making trip can be found on Linnell’s website.

The current SUP distance record is held by Tom Jones, who paddled 1507 miles from Key West to NYC in the summer of 2010. Linnell will be breaking the World Record this summer by 850 miles.

Donate to the Red Cross and follow Linnell’s historic trip via his website:

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