Italian Forrest Gump Paddling Across Lithuania

A couple of months ago, on 15min, I read an article about this Italian guy making a 170km path standing on his paddle board, following the course of River Neris, from Vilnius to Kaunas.

Lithuanian media covered widely Andrea’s adventures (since he didn’t stop there) and this his reminded me of the famous Forrest Gump scene about running. I could not avoid to enquire further about it and finally find out more about this incredible story.

Andrea Ricci is peculiar sportsman, one of kind and this is why I reached him out to talk about his passion for paddling and how is Lithuania seen from a river.

Andrea, how you became acquainted with paddling?

I’ve always been attracted to water. When I was around 20 I came to know about this paddling event – which then has become very well known, the International Descent of the Tiber (the river that passes through Rome) – and I was so fascinated by it I  literally learned how to paddle in order to participate.
After that, paddling has opened up to me the world of tourism and exploration in contact with the most beautiful nature.

Recently you have run across Neris river on your paddle boars for 170km (from Mindaugas Bridge, in Vilnius to Kaunas), are you planning any other similar adventure in the future?

Yes, definitely! I’ve planned to stand up paddle the Nemunas from Druskinikai to Kaunas, 230km, end June (and it went well).  The next adventure, again on the River Nemunas, from Kaunas to Rusne.

What brought you in Lithuania and did you find any community promoting paddling here?

I first came to Lithuania in 2018 as consultant for some Italian companies, to learn more about Rail Baltica project. Afterwards I got more and more interested in exploring Lithuania through its waterways. Thanks to Facebook, I have reached out many local paddlers giving me very good suggestions, although most of them were basically are not long distance paddlers as I am. I have then founded a Facebook group, Paddling Lithuania and with some Lithuanian friends we are planning to establish a non profit company, Vandens Judejimas, to promote paddling in Lithuania.

What I liked in Andrea’s approach is this easy going attitude that leads him to pick a path having Google Maps opened on his laptop and going for it. If you are interested in following his activities in Lithuania, please find here the Facebook group founded by Andrea. If you liked the article, Baol is on Facebook or Linkedin!

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