Flowin’ like a river: Minnesota man rides Stand up Paddleboard length of Mississippi

Mendota Heights man takes up cause and heads down river on SUP for the American Red Cross and world record

by Bob Grawey

Staff writer

Strange things come down the Mississippi River, especially with such high water levels as there have been this year.

But Otsego city permit technician Barb Williams had to take a second look when she witnessed a man coming down the river who, she says, appeared to be standing upright on the swirling water.

Photo by Barb Williams Alex Linnell checks in on his GPS as he passed through Otsegi June 19.

Well it certainly was not Jesus. And the guy was a bit young for Mark Twain or Huck Finn.

No, it was 21-year-old Alex Linnell of Mendota Heights.

Linnell was actually standing on and riding a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).

It is an emerging sport in which someone stands on a surfing-type board to ride the current found in bodies of water like rivers and oceans.

Williams was so intrigued, she took a photo of the 21-year-old from Dimmick Island on the Mississippi River Sunday, June 19.

Linnell was just passing through Otsego at the time.

He began his water journey at the Mississippi River headwaters in Itasca State Park and plans to ride his paddleboard to the Gulf of Mexico.

The 2,350-mile trip should take 60–90 days, according to Linnell’s projections.

The adventurer says in his blogs that he is making the trip to raise money for the American Red Cross to assist Mississippi River flood victims, as well as a way to bring awareness to the new SUP sport.

Then there is the third reason.

Linnell wants to set a world record with this stand-up paddle journey down the Mississippi. If he succeeds, it will break the world record set last year by Tom Jones, beating that mark by 850 miles.

Those interested in following Linnell’s progress down the Mississippi River can go to www.alexlinnell.com.

Click on the link below Linnell’s Twitter photo to see his exact location on the river.


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