Dave Cornthwaite | Adventurer - Author - Speaker -

When Dave was 25 he realised he was a pretty rubbish graphic designer, so he took up a skateboard and crossed Australia. He hasn't looked back, and now he's a record-breaking adventurer, author and motivational speaker, as well as the founder of SayYesMore, aka. don't waste opportunities.

Amongst other things he has paddleboarded the length of the Mississippi, swum 1001 miles, written three books, stayed awake for 72 hours without turning crazy, and for years has tried in vain to get Nutella to sponsor his adventures. But will he give up? Never!
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Posts tagged "cornthwaite"

Here’s a very kind email from a friend I met on my very first adventure in 2006, but one full of questions that many of you have asked already in recent weeks.

So as well as the original email and questions, I’ve tried to answer everything below to give an insight into how I approach an expedition and make everything happen before and during (let’s talk about after when I’m finished on this current mission!)

Hi Dave

Just wondering how you keep all your technology dry.? What laptop are you using for your edits and how long do u spend each day editing, updating the website, Facebook , tumblr etc …

It’s crazy to think that you had 2 weeks before this expedition. I would be thinking bills to pay, airfare expense, where do I sleep, what permissions do I need, will it be safe, hypothermia if I capsize, what if my laptop gets wet, how do I recharge all this equipment, how many back up drives will I need for all the video footage, blah blah.

Plus I have to store dry clothes somewhere (storage looks tiny to me), I mean this kayak was supposedly never supposed to go 1000 miles!

And there you are doing professional broadcasts, editing ads, daily video feeds…!!! It’s a feat more challenging than what you are already doing!!! I have Internet challenges daily and I am in one place and curse when my cell phone runs out of charge (which is all the time )!

And what are u doing for food? Do you stop along the way? How much bucks does one have to carry on a trip like this? And visas? It takes months to get a visa !!! You make this all seem like a piece of cake!!!

I wonder how I would sort all the stuff you have to have with you, even for a day trip on a lake, let alone months on choppy unknown waters!!!!

Truly remarkable … You had a team behind you on Aus so everything was in the van but here you are by yourself, in conditions not meant for technology!!!! And it’s fabulous viewing!! … You are revolutionising reality Facebook !!!

It is current, interesting, beyond anything any one of us normal people with bills would or could attempt, but you awaken the primal adventure bug in all of us.

National geographic and travel channel need to take heed. You embody the spirit of adventure…
Good on you Dave !!!! Thanks for the adventure!!!! Xx

I LOVE this type of feedback! I suppose my first trick is to simplify everything, so as to streamline what I want to do - which is to create an innovative ongoing ‘real time’ documentary.

All posts (except the pedal on water episodes) are created, edited and shared via iPhone 5s. I use iMovie on the phone to share the daily ‘good morning’ posts.

I navigate using google maps on iPad and iPhone. Often satellite mode.

I have a 13” MacBook Pro Retina laptop on which I use final cut x to edit the bigger episodes. Audio/narration is recorded on a Zoom H1.

All gear, clothes and electronics, has a place in an Aquapac drybag or pouch - they have a bunch of different styles.

I use mains power when possible but recharge my gear all night using a Power Gorilla battery (from powertraveller.com) which is charged by a Solar Gorilla solar panel.

2 x 2gb western digital MyPassport drives for data/content backup (each stored in different bag/part of kayak - I back up every two nights religiously).

I probably spend 60 minutes on average each day crediting and sharing the stories - really love this part of the adventure, engaging with people around the world and lighting a spark for some.

I guess the graphic designing helped a bit but back then ‘social media’ wasn’t yet around. I used Facebook and twitter for the first time on the Murray expedition in 2009 and my video editing was quite rudimentary at that point!

I guess as with anything, the more time one spends on something the better they get at it. I’m miles ahead of myself four years ago but the exciting thing is that I’m only scratching the surface.

This also goes for general logistics. I have a bite the bullet approach now: it doesn’t take too many things to sort to go on an adventure. Need a visa? Apply for one! Air fare? Book as early as possible and keep costs low (if you don’t book it the trip doesn’t happen). Bills to pay? The only monthly outgoing I have is for my UK phone, and that’s direct debit. Generally my costs are based on my immediate choices and I only but/pay for things I really need, because I carry my life on my back (kayak). Permissions? Usually I go, then work it out on the way. Sleep? There’s always somewhere quiet to pitch a tent. Capsize? Don’t! Always have an easy available grab bag with towel and dry change of warm clothes.

Food? I resupply when I can - usually in a small store or supermarket. I know before I go in when my next likely re supply point is so cater for this, and always have extra rations tucked away in case I get stuck somewhere.

Feel free to write to Nat Geo and Travel Channel and tell them what you think! Although I’m more than happy doing what I’m doing. In fact, couldn’t be happier

Dave xx






Since quitting his day job in 2005 British man Dave Cornthwaite has written three books and broken eight world records in the pursuit of an ambitious self-powered goal that has already seen him cover over 18,000 miles around the world.

This morning in Oslo, Cornthwaite begins the 11th leg of Expedition1000, a project to complete a series of 25 different non-motorised journeys, each a minimum of 1000 miles in distance.

Starting at Aker Brygge/ Tjuvholmen at 11am, Cornthwaite left the Norwegian capital of Oslo bound for Helsinki, Finland. He will travel over 1200 miles along the Norwegian, Swedish and Finnish coastlines using a pedal kayak powered by Hobie’s innovative Mirage system, based on the propulsion of penguin flippers.

In addition to encountering stunning scenery and marine life, Cornthwaite expects to face stormy weather, open water crossings and busy sea traffic, but he is no stranger to overcoming challenges.

His previous journeys include world record distances by stand up paddleboard along the Mississippi, and across Australia by skateboard. He has also sailed across the Pacific and in 2012 swam over 1000 miles down the Missouri River.

Speaking from the UK earlier this week, Cornthwaite looked forward to arriving in Oslo: “This will be a memorable way to celebrate my first visit to Scandinavia. It’s a part of the world renowned for exploration, and I hope my own journey inspires locals along the coastline to come and join me on the water.”

Cornthwaite is a passionate advocate of encouraging adventure as a way of developing human potential. His motto of ‘make life memorable, say yes more’ has already helped him raise over £100,000 for good causes. He hopes to raise £1 million by the end of his Expedition1000 project.

Notes for Editors:

More details on www.davecornthwaite.com

Email Dave: dave@davecornthwaite.com

Hi-Res Images for Press Use: http://bit.ly/1a8xkpR

To follow the journey visit davecornthwaite.com and facebook.com/expedition1000. 

Here’s a list of gear, item weight and associated web links for my upcoming 1200mile Hobie Kayak journey around the Scandinavian coast from Oslo to Helsinki. 

If you have any questions or would like recommendations for your own trip, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Hobie Mirage Adventure | 34kg | http://bit.ly/mirageadventure


Hammock Bliss Sky Tent 2 | 1200g | http://bit.ly/hamblissskytent2

Hammock Bliss Sky Bed Hammock | 660g | http://bit.ly/hamblissskybed

Karrimor X-Lite Bivi Bag | 206g | http://bit.ly/karrimorxlitebivi

Multimat Adventure Compact 55 Sleeping Mat | 440g | http://bit.ly/multimatadventure25

Travelrest Pillow | 200g | http://bit.ly/travelrestpillow

Hammock Bliss Waterproof Shelter/ Tarp | 480g | http://bit.ly/hamblissshelter

Marmot Atom Sleeping Bag | 680g | http://bit.ly/marmotatom

Petzl Headtorch | http://www.petzl.com


DeLorme inReach GPS Explorer |  | http://bit.ly/delormegpsexplorer

iPhone 5s | 112g | http://bit.ly/Appleiphone5sblack

Powertraveller Solar Gorilla | 700g | http://bit.ly/ptsolargorilla

Powertraveller Power Gorilla | 700g | http://bit.ly/ptpowergorilla

Powertraveller Power Chimp | 73g (with 2 x AA) | http://bit.ly/ptpowerchimp

Film Equipment

GoPro Hero 3 Black | 136g | http://bit.ly/goprocamhero3black

GoPro Hero 3 Silver | 136g | http://bit.ly/goprocamhero3black

Sony Nex-5T Compact System Camera | 276g | http://bit.ly/sonynex-5t

Manfrotto BeFree Tripod | 1.4kg | http://bit.ly/befreetripod

Phantom 2 Quadricopter | 1.03kg | http://bit.ly/djiphantom2drone

6 x PT Rechargeable AA batteries | http://bit.ly/ptrechargeableAA


Aquapac 90l Upano Duffel | 876g | http://bit.ly/aquapacupano90l

Aquapac Noatak 60l Drybag | 391g | http://bit.ly/aquapacnoatak60l

Aquapac Noatak 35l Drybag | 315g | http://bit.ly/aquapacnoatak35l

Mini Whanganui Phone Pouch | 33g | http://bit.ly/aquapacminiwhan


Palm Oceana Jacket | 1.009kg | http://bit.ly/palmoceana

Palm Tempo Jacket | 275g | http://bit.ly/palmtempo

Palm Neon Paddling Pants | 679g | http://bit.ly/palmneon

Palm Horizon Shorts | 378g | http://bit.ly/palmhorizon

Palm Kaikoura PFD | 1.242kg | http://bit.ly/palmkaikoura

2 x Buff Insect Repelling | 38g | http://bit.ly/buffinsect

1 x Isobar Black Visor Buff | 53g | http://bit.ly/buffvisor 

1 x SayYesMore Buff | 37g | http://bit.ly/sayyesmorebuff

1 x SayYesMore Flow397 T-Shirt | 150g | http://bit.ly/sayyesmoreflow397

2 x BAM Zipneck Baselayer | http://bit.ly/BAMZipneck

3 x BAM Sport Trunk | 130g | http://bit.ly/BAMSportTrunk

1 x Berghaus Smoulder III Hoodie | 347g | http://bit.ly/smoulderhoodie

1 x Berghaus Technical Tee | 160g | http://bit.ly/berghaustechnicaltee

And here’s a video introducing some of the gear:

Find out more about the expedition, which starts August 15th, on www.davecornthwaite.com and www.facebook.com/expedition1000

Jamie and I have been in Santiago for the last two weeks, slowly getting things in order for our journey north, by Whike, to the Atacama Desert.

With our departure time set for 3am on Wednesday April 2nd we settled up on the minor factors of prep, then headed to the airport late last night to pick up Ned, the CEO of Whike UK and, critically, the man equipped to build the Whikes.

That is, he would have been equipped had his bag not been lost somewhere between London and South America. An exhausted Ned appeared through the Arrivals gate, half happy to be here, half glum that some essential kit had been misplaced.

So, writing this at noon on April 1st (so you know I’m not joking), here’s the situation. They still don’t know where the bag is.

In it are tools essential to complete the assembly of our three Whikes, and although we could probably forage around the city to get round this problem, the spokes that ensure the integrity of the wheels will be harder to replace. Plus, our camping gear and other bits and bobs are also in the sack.

So, we may well have a delay. With only 20 days to ride on this journey each one is important, so we can only hope that the airline gods are kind to us. 

For now, we’re going to do as much as we can to ensure we’re ready. Ned is starting to piece together the bits of the Whike puzzle. We’ve just wrestled the frames and spare pieces (total weight just under 100kg) down six floors and then a few hundred metres to a wider yard (as opposed to a snug box room). 

We’ll call the airport every hour to see if the bag has materialised, but until it does, we’re staying in Santiago!


The Whike Atacama expedition begins on April 2nd (we hope)

Follow the adventure on FacebookTwitter and YouTube

And if you want to see what I’ve been up to before, this website is the best place to spend some time.

Back in 2010 I made my first Expedition1000 video which at the time was a little short on content.

Gladly, I’ve been busy these last couple of years. Paddleboarding and tandem’ing and sailing and swimming and stuff, and with 8 Expedition1000 journeys now completed I felt it was about time for a new video to explain the project and my motivations for living an adventurous life.

It’s not easy summing yourself up in 6 minutes, but I had great fun rummaging back through hours of footage and trying to tell a story worth telling. I hope you enjoy it.

With 17 expeditions left to go I’m constantly working hard on my next plans and in 2014 I have three new expeditions pencilled in. The length of Chile’s Atacama Desert by Whike, a completely unplanned journey around Europe, and a coastline-skirting epic around Brazil by kitesurf.

If you’d like to follow my journeys, or get involved with them yourself, tune in on my website, Facebook and Twitter, and get voting for Surprise Journey #10 when April comes around!!

A Varibike is a bicycle with several options to use hands and arms to add additional propulsion, as well as a more in-depth workout. I tried one out for the first time in London’s Hyde Park next week. 

It took a few tries to get to grips with, but I think the Varibike has potential for one of the fastest 1000 miles I’ll travel. I’ll keep you posted!

For a little while now I’ve been laying the groundwork for a project called 50 ways to make £50 and next week promises to properly kick the idea into action. 

The concept was born from a desire to show that with a bit of open-mindedness one person can earn money in a variety of different ways.

In the event that you’re held back from changing jobs because of financial responsibilities, this project might give you some ideas, hope, and perhaps even a chuckle.

I plan on creating a short book from the project, and am still on the lookout for more £50 opportunities, so if you have any ideas or would even be willing to create a one-off job for me, I’ll do anything!

Having already ticked off Magazine Stacking, Fundraising Consulting, Giving a Talk in a Hurricane and Designing a Logo, next week I have a couple of new jobs lined up.

I’m going to be a Bootcamp Instructor near Bristol, with the abuse-ridden remit of getting everyone up to B.O.R.G Level 10. Which basically means, vomit.

And then I’ll be heading down to Plymouth to work as a Zoo Keeper for a day at Dartmoor Zoo, with the carnivores! Watch this space for a picture of me feeding a tiger (not with myself).

Drop me a line through Facebook or Twitter if you have a £50 job for me!

This is shaping up to be quite a fun summer. Here’s my Yes List for July through to September, featuring little adventures just waiting to be taken on, events I’m speaking at or attending, and other’s people journeys that I’m following and might just pop along to support at some stage.

Also, I’d like YOU to be involved in some of the below! There are options to take part in, attend or even have a big hand in some of the things in this list:


- Now until the 31st July: Special Delivery! To finalise my back rehabilitation and to train for a 72 hour football match in early August I’ll be riding a Boris Bike all over London delivering any London-based orders of my books / Say Yes More merchandise made through this link. Bike Helmet at the ready…!

- 22nd - Paperback launch for my third book, Life in the Slow Lane. Just a couple of days ago I received the proof for my third book, such a special moment to hold a solid paperback in hand for the first time. If you read it I really hope you enjoy, and I’d always appreciate some feedback on Amazon if you can spare the time. 

- 24th - Speaking for Explorers Connect in Plymouth with Emily Penn. Em and I sailed across the Pacific together last year and have since done a few journeys independently. We’ll be mixing up the traditional speaking format by interviewing each other on stage. Tickets are £4.

- 25th - Following our event in Plymouth, it’s straight back to London where Emily Penn will be discussing her recent journey to the mid Pacific in London at one of the capital’s coolest venues - Bathtub 2 Boardroom. Details here.

- 27th - With a few friends including another Dave, who is responsible for BAMboo Clothing, we’re going to build an Old School Bamboo Raft and float down the Thames, with no prior boat-building experience whatsoever.

- 29th - I’ll be speaking at the Octopus Clinic this evening, to say thanks to the Osteopaths who’ve helped me get my back in working order following a damaged disc which caused me to pull out of my last journey. Come along for some tales of adventure!


- 1st - 4th - I’m taking part in a World Record Breaking Football Match,  72 hours of 5 aside in West London’s Westway Sports Centre. Having stayed awake for 72 hours non-stop in 2010 I know how much of a challenge this will be! Come along and support us, we’ll need every bit of encouragement we can get. The event is raising money for the Inspiring Futures: Uganda charity and I’m aiming to raise at least £350 through this page before the event starts, legs feel wobbly already! 

- 5th  - Explorers Connect London: This should be a great night. I’m speaking alongside the incredible Felicity Aston, who is one of only three people to ever walk across Antarctica. She’s the only one of those three who isn’t a Norwegian male, which gives you an idea of her calibre. Details here.

- 16-18 - Adventure Travel Film Festival: Can’t wait for this. I’ll be speaking and introducing a short film about my Missouri River swim, as well as hanging out with a cool group of people and camping in my hammock all weekend. Visit the website for tickets and details.


- 16th - The Night of Adventure Series for Hope & Homes for Children has been running for a few years now, since its inception by Alastair Humphreys. Featuring a sweat-inducing format involving each speakers 20 slides move on automatically after just 20 seconds, it’s an inspiring event worthy of its venue in Leicester Square’s VUE cinema. I’m honoured to be hosting the night, too. 

- 19th - I’m speaking in Bristol for lifecycle.org.uk, come along!

Other projects, adventures and opportunities

- For the duration of the Summer I’m continuing a project I briefly flirted with last year. It’s called 50-50, or more specifically, 50 ways to make £50. I’ll be writing a book about the project and am on the lookout for weird, wonderful and downright horrible ways to make 50 quid. If you have a job for me, let me know!

- My friend Sean Conway is currently moving his way up the coast in an attempt to be the first person to swim the length of Britain. I’ll be chasing him down at some point to join the team for a few days of coastal shenanigans.

- Building a team: for a few years I’ve run an Internship for anyone who wants to dip their fingers into a world of adventure. Many of my interns have gone on to do their own adventures, write their own books and generally take life by the horns. I’m starting to build a new team and am on the lookout for anyone who wants to get involved with all kinds of projects, from expedition organisation to website development and growing Say Yes More into a globe-conquering inspiration machine. Whatever your personal skills are, if you’re open-minded and on the lookout for a new challenge, this could be for you.


Last weekend I was invited to be a guest on the CBBC Saturday morning wildlife programme, aptly named WILD.

Much like it’s predecessor Live n’Deadly - which I guested on in late 2011 and ended up having a crazy Coracle race with Steve Backshall (see below) - any guest on WILD has to demonstrate one of their skills, or expertise. And so it was that out of a dusty cupboard came the Aquaskipper, something I haven’t ridden for four years.

Steve is no longer involved with show but much of the crew is the same. Two days of prep is necessary before the show airs live for an hour on Saturday morning. It’s an incredible atmosphere, with everyone running about with cameras and clipboards and radio mics and…in the case of last weekend’s show in Hunstanton, a giant sea eagle, a windsurfer, and an Aquaskipper.

There are three presenters on WILD. Naomi Wilkinson is the sole survivor from Live n’Deadly, then there’s the lively former pro snowboarder Tim Warwood, and another face I’m sure you’ll be seeing on the telly a lot more in years to come, Radzi!

I was keen to both get back on an Aquaskipper in order to make sure I could still do it before I faceplanted during a live show, and also to do some exercise, period! I’ve been resting and restless since injuring a disc in my back in early June, during my last expedition - crossing Europe on an ElliptiGO, so it was great to get active again.

The Aquaskipper is one of the hardest contraptions in the world to master, it sure took me a long time. I’ve taught a few people to do it in the past but almost certain hilarity is the by-product of a TV presenter during a live show trying the Skipper for the first time. Tim Warwood doesn’t mind a challenge, though, and did pretty well considering! Check out the clip from my appearance, below. Getting the timing right on a live show is super important so thankfully it all came out well!

Big thanks to everyone on WILD, the other guest, pro windsurfer Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers, and to Nick Meads at Aquaskipper UK, for loaning two Skippers for the show.

> The whole episode, called Coast, is on BBC iPlayer, here

> Find out about my other adventures on my website…

If you are planning an expedition for nothing but soul food and have no care about sharing on social media, fundraising for a charity or offering some realtime return for any sponsors you might have, there’s no need to read this!

We live in a wonderful age where communication possibilities are instant, and story sharing from an adventure can happen in so many forms. Video, images, text and/ or a combination of all three can enable the painting of a vivid picture across the globe.

There are no definitive ways to properly promote and share an expedition, so instead below are some ideas for you to pick and choose from.

- Website: your website is an online brochure for your project, the first go-to for anyone interested in your project

- Facebook: whether you’re using interactive capabilities with external apps or adding content straight onto Facebook, the spread of potential followers is undeniable. Note: if you have a personal Facebook page and another expedition/ adventure/ event page try not to double-up on content

- Twitter: it’s great practice tightening up your story telling into 140 characters or less. A quick, easy way to spread the word and develop a follow. If you still can’t get your mind around Twitter, try using a social media desktop like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite.

- Blog: If writing is more your thing you might want to take a more bloggy approach. Wordpress is a popular option (and can also double up as your full website). Tumblr is a less complicated option for the casual blogger.

- Instagram: a lovely way to make your photos look better than a simple press of the button can. 

- YouTube/ Vimeo: Short, sharp and well edited videos are hard to beat when sharing the feel and environment of your journey.

- Punkt: a new, interactive social media mapping app designed with adventures in mind. Share video, images and text and have a GPS-marked content button display your position as well as what happened where. If you’re travelling in an area with good data connectivity then Punkt can replace the location aspects of other GPS trackers, like SPOT.

eg. Here’s the Punkt for my upcoming adventure with Squash Falconer.

eg2. And here’s one from a full expedition, where Leon McCarron and Rob Lilwall walked across Asia.

As effective as social media is nothing is quite as good as meeting people face to face. Ensure that your meeting plants some roots and carry something to give to everyone you meet, so they can follow up on your internet links, go to your charity donation page, and get in touch with you.

If you’re trying to keep things light, I recommend Moo Minicards. Half the size of normal business cards they allow a different image on every single card, giving a great first impression. Get 10% off your first order with Moo by clicking here

If you are able to construct a sweet PR machine around your expedition, the results could be unbeatable. This isn’t easy. A well-timed and well-written tweet could reach more people than a feature in the Times, but if you work on a trickle-up effect media coverage could boost your following.

Start on locals. Newspapers, radio and TV. As soon as you start appearing in ‘little’ publications, bigger ones might take notice especially if you have a good, positive message alongside a unique venture.

Specialist media is worth focusing on. For example, on my upcoming ElliptiGO trek magazines like Outdoor Fitness and Runners World are perfect fits for the story. Remember though, these publications often compile content up to 8 months ahead of release. Make sure you get in early.

Media releases: a short, concise press release with a well-taken illustrative image attached can make the difference. Make a good first impression, edge out waffle, add contact details.

Find a contact: Writing to a real life person rather than the generic news gathering address on a website will get you brownie points. Show you care about being featured and you’ll be given more time.

This largely depends on the location of your expedition. If remote, you may need a Sat Phone unit with a laptop link-up and perhaps a SPOT tracker to show your progress and position, both for sharing and emergency purposes.

If you’ll have cell signal regularly and deem this to be sufficient for your communication needs, then a smartphone for mobile updates should be enough. A small laptop will give you more scope for content creation and video editing. (I use an Apple MacBook Pro 13”, a good balance of light weight and function.)

Ultimately, your first port of call should be to understand your strengths and how you want to use them to promote your expedition. If you’re lacking a vital skillset like copywriting or video editing consider seeking help from someone who can do what you can’t.

Always do what you feel is right and works works for you, rather than just doing what others do because you think that’s the norm. There is NO norm!