The Why Not? Blog

At the tender age of 25 Dave started skateboarding. 14 months later he became the first person to skate the length of Britain. Another 8 months on he had crossed Australia on his board, breaking a world record & raising over £20,000 for three charities. Now, at 27, he's writing his first book, is a motivational speaker and a businessman, and he's only just gotten started on a lifetime of challenges which from the outside look just darn crazy. So, why? You know the answer, don't you. Why not?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

100 Things - Emi Green

Monday, May 03, 2010

Lake Geneva Crossing Trailer

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Summer of Adventure

A little while since I've written here, but on the five-year anniversary of the day a Tierney Rides T-Board landed on my doorstep and prompted a swift re-evaluation of life, it's great to check over the shoulder just as a new career is unravelling into the future.

It has been over three years since Elsa rolled me into Brisbane, all tears and champagne and old men blocking the finishing line. I still love looking at the photos of all the Brizzy skaters charging down the crowd, a couple of them landing flat on their backs after tricks-for-the-cameras-gone-wrong. I didn't see the stacks with my own eyes, I was just around the corner, handing the project minicam to Simon Thorpe, the BoardFree cameraman, so he could film the finale through the tickertape.

For a while I couldn't quite connect myself to the guy who had pushed a skateboard across Australia. It took seven months to recover physically and more than a year to get the psychologicals back in order, but after that it was a case of bashing through the undergrowth of a strange new world. A career in Adventure? Really? Sure, why not? Skating acrosss Australia 'wasn't possible' either, remember?!!!

So, fast forward. Most of my ramblings these days are on and this summer there will be plenty to catch up on. I'm working on a book about last winter's source to sea expedition along Australia's Murray River and the first bricks of foundation are being laid for next Spring's Stand Up Paddle journey between London and Africa - all as part of

Before then, though, a couple of smaller Stand Up Paddle journeys, one around Lake Geneva with Sebastian ( Terry and another across the UK from Bath to London. Then in July I'll be shooting over to Peru for an 8 week job, looking after almost 200 Adventurists as they set off over the Andes en route to Ascuncion in Paraguay riding on three-wheeled mototaxis. Genius.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Skating long distances, Beats Walkin'

Sam ‘Bam’ Benson just called. He heads out from Barnstable in the morning with more than 2500 miles of road ahead of him. Bearing in mind he has never left the UK and never seen a mountain, his journey from Devon to Spain is a true, plucky, pioneering endeavour. Skating via France, Switzerland and Italy, topping the Alps and coming down the other side, he will experience the burn that only endurance athletes are familiar with, but it will push him on and drive him south perhaps a little slower than before, but with the knowledge that he has conquered his first mountains. He’s been in contact with me for almost a year now and I’m proud to say that my own journeys have provided some inspiration for this one. In many ways Bam’s route will be far tougher than the one which took me across Australia. Put aside his personal learning curve, which will begin for real when he brandishes his passport in Calais and skates off into an unknown mainland, an education like no other when travelling under your own steam. Then tuck in, dealing with European drivers when you’re in a car is no fun, whether they have more respect for a skateboard we shall see – at least he won’t be able to understand the colourful support directed his way! My push over the Great Dividing Range in south-eastern Victoria seems like a walk up the stairs compared to Sam’s Alpine challenge, and then you have the language barrier, which will frustrate on occasion despite the linguistic talents of his team. And it’s his team which will keep him going, they have chosen to support Sam to the hilt, as mine did with me, and they will ensure that his efforts reward the charities he supports. The Lowe Syndrome Trust, Link Community Development and Sailability are about to benefit from another journey, one which many curious passers-by, listeners and viewers will still find odd, while many more will now accept that longboarding is a commonplace, viable form of transport. For every single person out there who says Sam’s venture is madcap and ridiculous, there will be one hundred who will quite rightly recognise his spirit, energy and determination. That is just what it will take, in addition to no little self-belief and a fair bit of pasta, for Sam to make it to Spain by September. Ride safe, man, and don’t forget to skate on the other side of the road.
- Visit Sam’s website at, and donate online at

A quick mention too to other BoardFree journeys which are currently underway. Having pedled a recumbent bicycle from Japan to Switzerland, Rob Thompson is continuing his journey by riding a rollsrolls longboard the length of the Rhine river. His journey can be viewed via Across the pond and beyond, Matt Ishler is also spending a lot of time on a rollsrolls, riding from BC to BC, British Columbia to Baja, California down the North American west coast.

In other news, facebook addicts now have the option of joining BoardFree: The Official Group, so they can be easily kept up-to-date with all BoardFree news. Also, I’m continuing to work on logistics for a sponsored 24 hour non-stop skate, which will incorporate individual and team relay competitions. We’re also looking for groups of people who have never skated before to step up and take on the challenge of attempting the 24 hour mission. We will teach you to skate, put you through your paces and make you believe that in just a matter of months you can achieve something just a little bit extraordinary. And, if current plans come through, it’ll all be filmed for a documentary too. All interested parties please register your interest (with no obligation to take part) by emailing

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Are You The Skateboard Man?

I've been trying to call them for two days, it's always engaged or they just don't answer. I missed a's ringing again. They pick up.
"Hello, Royal Mail Swansea."
"Hi, I'd like to organise redelivery of a parcel, please."
"No problem, what's your name, please."
"Cornthwaite. C.O.R.N..."
"Do you live in St Thomas?"
"I do."
"Are you the skateboard man?"

Four months ago I was on my last legs, willing blistered feet and a heavy head along the final stretches of the New South Wales Pacific Highway towards Queensland and Brisbane, soaking up car horn after car horn, the most energising sound in the world for a skater one week short of completing a five month journey. In Queensland the ocean bubbled up on my right, small dogs snapped at my heels, the team and I went to Wet N'Wild for a media call. I was on the news for half a minute because I went down a water slide. They say the Australian summer is a quiet time for good press.

Comedowns don't come much heavier than this one. My right foot has been pawing at the air since landing on UK soil in mid February, brain struggling to switch off after two years of intense focus. A goal so distant and, to many people so unlikely, becomes surreal when finally achieved. I'd mapped out every physical step between John O'Groats and Land's End, from Perth to Adelaide, Adelaide to Melbourne, then to Sydney, and then...

And then it hit me. Waving Elsa above my head, right hand gripping a champagne bottle draped in British colours, Brisbane skyline behind me as Getty and Reuters snapped away for the next day's news. I'd always believed - known almost - that I'd get to Brisbane. I just hadn't thought about what I'd do once I'd made it.

That night I cramped up, entire body in spasm. My mind had shut down for the first time in 20 months and without focus my stomach, thighs, arms, shoulders, back and calves jerked in fury, their job finally done. I slept little that night, my brain firmly whirring back into action with a disconcerting concoction of satisfaction and worry. It's still happening...

The rest of the team went their own way, having spent the past half-year volunteering for a hellishly stressful project the need for money started talking again, it always does. My mind started to back away from BoardFree quicker than reality could let it. Imagine, five months without a break, the only time you spend alone is when you're pounding the road hard, for all the beauty of the journey between Perth and Brisbane, it wasn't what you could call quality personal time. A camera thrust in your face everytime you stop, every time you have an argument with your girlfriend. Phone rings, another interview: whatever was happening at that time - whether it was mediation of a team incident, putting together a blog for the website, bandaging up blisters - doesn't matter, the more people who hear about BoardFree the more people donate. It's a correllation that bolsters the foundations of this project; the media face arrives, the media voice, the positive, public side to BoardFree, never false but never letting slip what was happening behind the scenes.

And it's what happened behind the scenes that I'm dealing with now. Everyday spent reliving the good: the kindness of strangers, receiving donations, car honks, and the bad: the cover-ups, the way fatigue deteriorates communication and the loss of a beautiful friendship, a love that should never have slipped away. The self punishing side that tears away at your basic person, how endurance and a lack of privacy reduce you to a pile of emotions where life is a series of ups and downs, where constants and stability disappear with the relationships that fade away amidst your confusion.

And here, at the end, writing it all down, page after page after page, still longing for the privacy and getting it in such a different way to that which you would imagine, unable to extract some distance from the whole picture, I find myself wondering whether or not BoardFree was a good thing. And it's a ridiculous question because it was good, the core group of people who formed to create this dream, to believe in the ideas, the charities and the journey pulled together despite the hard times and made it through to the end. I have my regrets, yes, but I loved and was loved more during BoardFree than ever before, I achieved and I'm sure my team achieved more than they previously had. But with gain comes loss and until I've dealt with that loss, until the final page of the book is written, my journey isn't over. It started with me alone and sadly it ends with me alone. But there should be no pity in this - it was all my own doing.

Certain things help, like the emails of support and interest that have started to come in about a new journey, a twenty-four hour non-stop skate marathon. The glee people take in discovering the AquaSkipper, for now the only non-boardlike transportation I have big plans for. Now and then I throw a chapter of the book at a friend and their self-contained giggles make me want to write more. On the 2nd June a charity skate between Bath and Bristol, co-organised with Lush Longboards, will take more than a handful of people 15 miles on a board to raise money for Link and Lowe - I've received countless emails from skaters preparing to take part; all encouraging, all excited, all determined to make the skate for themselves as much as the charities. And that's the way it should be, the ability to take on a challenge and come through on the other side having done your utmost is more than a learning curve, it's a building block for your future. The lads - I hope at some point soon I can add some ladies to this sentence - who are preparing to embark on their own BoardFree skate journeys this summer have memorable times ahead, and are most certainly about to embark on a good bit of construction of their own personal foundations. Moral fibre, my Grandad would call it. That each and every one of them is willing to part with self to a degree and skate for a cause that warrants attention shows the metal of these people. Sam and his team from BeatsWalkin (Devon to Santander for Link, Lowe and Sailability), Charlie and Bob from the Test of Manhood (London to Morocco for Everyman, the male cancer charity), Ben Stiff (The length of Britain for stroke victims) and Rob and Jack (Wales, charity tbc) are all about to use their decks as weapons of good. Who says the pen is mightier than the board?

In addition to the strangely stalkerish recognition of the lady at the Royal Mail depot, my other highlight this week has been receipt of a large brown envelope. Inside it was a certificate from the Guinness Book of records, confirming that they have accepted my record submission and I am now, officially, a Guinness World Record Holder. Tell me that's not cool!

So it goes on, doesn't it. I hold my hands up and say that sometimes life takes the very glass that you once said was half full and makes you believe it's half empty, but even in the time it has taken me to write this blog I've had a couple of good emails from encouraging friends, have very hopefully found a lovely flat in London which will house me for the next few months and also spoken to a lovely lady who is providing a new home for Kiwa, my beloved kitten who needs a more settled home than her globetrotting Daddy can give her.

The glass is starting to look full again, which is a relief because I was about to call the heavies in.

If anyone didn't manage to donate to Link Community Development, the Lowe Syndrome Trust or Sailability Australia during the UK and Australian Boardfree journeys, there's a new online giving page in support of the 2nd June charity skate at, your donations would be gratefully received and will be shared equally between the three charities Many thanks.

Monday, April 30, 2007

One year on...

Exactly one year ago a small group of people stood on their own in John O'Groats, northern Scotland, watching on as I pushed off on my longboard Elsa to begin the first of two long distance skate journeys. 34 days later I rolled into Land's End with a right foot that looked a little bit like a bowl of chicken and mushroom soup, but BoardFree UK (BFUK) had been completed. A couple of months later I flew to Perth with a slightly larger team, and together we travelled across Australia, concluding a record-breaking 5823km journey in Brisbane on January 22nd this year.

Several months later, I've just returned from Scotland having taken part in a challenge of a different nature. The Drambuie Pursuit began on the Isle of Skye and ended in Inverness, my destination on day 3 of BFUK. Inverness and fatigue always mix well. 15 teams of 4 battled it out for the top prize of a trip to New York, and although myself and my three Welsh teammates didn't make top spot we had a good crack, there's a rather funny video on, and there's more on the Drambuie Pursuit on

So, exactly twelve months on from the beginning of a series of life-changing journeys, I'm stood at a crossroads of sorts. 4516 miles on a longboard takes some beating, and tapping out a book and preparing to launch rollsrolls longboards headfirst into the UK market doesn't quite seem enough on its own. A successful Aquaskipping session ( in Malta last week has spawned ideas for a new, long-distance challenge (or several of them), but this doesn't mean the longboard will permantently hang on the wall. Logistical prep. for a 24 hour non-stop skate later this year has begun, with the east coast of Australia a likely destination. I'm hoping to be able to pursuade a bunch of Aussie skaters to relay alongside me, in a kind of 5 verses 1 scenario. Nothing like making life easy, eh. The 24 hour skate will be another fundraiser for the BoardFree charities, Sailability, Link Community Development and the Lowe Syndrome Trust, as will a June 2nd 15 mile skateathon from Bath to Bristol, organised with Lush Longboards. We're hoping to get 240 skaters to join up, meaning the accumulative distance travelled will equal the distance I skated between Perth to Brisbane, if you're interested in taken part visit, and if you can't make it there's an opportunity to donate to the BoardFree charities on

This post is sponsored by, Canada's top Streetwear & Skate Shoes Shop also offering Longboard accessories

Saturday, April 07, 2007

A Lush Day Out

A couple of days ago Rich Auden from Lush Longboards gave me a call, saying that he'd been thinking about doing a charity skate. And that was about as far as he had got, apart from perhaps deciding on a good route, before calling me to ask about organising charity skates. That led me to taking the reigns, as I suspect Rich wanted, and I'm pleased he called, because today I had a very nice day.

There's a pretty and smooth cycle path leading from Bath to Bristol (or the other way) that winds through trees, alongside a canal, occasionally near a railway track, and I decided to do a reccy. How do you spell that? A bus from Swansea to Cardiff and then a train straight to Bath, and there I was. In Bath. I'd never been to Bath before. Waiting there for me were three young men who travel under the cunningly-hatched group name of 'The BeatsWalking Crew'. Sam Benson, Bam for short, is skating from Devon to Spain this summer in aid of the BoardFree charities. It seemed wise, as we hadn't met yet and I was planning to skate a 15 mile route somewhere vaguely inbetween our two houses, that we should meet for the first time whilst having a skate. With Sam were two members of his 4-person support crew. Chris Morris, or Mo Mo, and Tom Fletcher, or.....Tom. Tom and Mo Mo did as they will be doing from the 1st July onwards, driving on ahead and scouting out the area. Meanwhile, Sam and I skated along the path, stopping now and then at a pub, where Mo Mo and Tom had cleverly positioned themselves. We talked over a pint, and later over ham and eggs, and I shared stories from my UK and Australian journeys and they told me what they were planning, and I caught more than one glimpse of excitement in their faces. I know how they feel, they have a long road ahead of them, adventures and tough times and more adventures, and the start is coming close. Very quickly. Sam is about to embark upon a journey that he will remember for the rest of his life, and Mo Mo and Tom, along with the other Tom who's joining them, won't be able to forget about it either, because Sam will keep reminding them. One thing I find incredible is that Mr Benson will skate along the south coast of England in early July, and at some point when stepping upon a ferry destined for France, will whip out a little reddish coloured book and wave it in front of someone in uniform. It'll be the first time he's ever done that, because the book is his passport, and that will be the first time he's left the United Kingdom. Keep your eyes on and donate on, it's going to be one heck of a ride.

Lastly, the Lush Longboards BoardFree Charity Skate, which we hope will become an annual thing, is going to push off at 10am on the morning of Saturday June 2nd. Full details will be posted soon on and, but rest assured the 15 miles between Bath and Bristol will be skated by more than just a handful of people, and we're aiming to raise hundreds, hopefully thousands of pounds for Link Community Development and the Lowe Syndrome Trust, two of BoardFree's charities. For those of you who are wondering about Sailability's cut of the funds, they will be the sole recipient of my 24 hour skate marathon on the east coast of Australia a little bit later this year. See you on the 2nd June, peeps.

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