Man Completes First SUP Crossing Of Atlantic

Chris Bertish today became the first person to paddle a stand up paddle board (SUP) across the Atlantic Ocean.

Chris Bertish trans-atlantic SUP crossing

Bertish nears Antigua, completing the first ever solo trans-Atlantic SUP crossing

Bertish, 42, from South Africa, completed the trans-Atlantic paddle at 8:32 a.m. AST today, March 9, 2017. As he paddled into English Harbour, Antigua, Bertish put the finishing strokes on a journey that covered a mind-boggling 4,050 miles over 93 days.

Bertish’s journey started on December 6, 2016. The first-ever solo SUP trans-Atlantic crossing required a very unique vessel reminiscent of boats used by solo Atlantic rowers.

The Craft

This vessel is unlike any SUP you’ve seen before. The SUP craft is just under 20-feet long and weighs 1,350 lbs fully loaded. It has a watertight sleeping compartment at the bow and is self-righting, meaning it rolls back upright in the case of a capsize.

Solar panels power communications, lighting, and navigational equipment. It also carries emergency supplies, two water desalinators, and everything else needed to keep a person alive and paddling for months on the sea.

Arrival In Antigua

Bertish wrote a final captain’s log as he arrived in Antigua.

Stand up paddle board Atlantic crossing

Bertish’s route crossing the Atlantic by SUP

“Full Circle! ” Now do you believe in I’mPossible!” he wrote, alluding to the expedition name I’mPossible. “93 days at sea. Alone!”

He said his journey required more than 2 million paddle strokes to complete.

While it appeared Bertish would be successful for some time, he did not lock up the crossing, or the three Guinness world records he expects to earn, until entering the harbor. His final 72 hours were not easy.

“The last 72 hours has been the most testing of almost the entire Crossing due to weather and the angles for the final approach,” he wrote.

SUP Crossing For Charity

The entire endeavor was a fundraiser for children. The money raised (about $410,000 USD so far) will be used to support schools, medical care, and nutrition for children in need.

He hopes to raise more than $1.5 million before his fund-raising efforts are complete.

Words From His Final Log Entry

Bertish penned a long log entry upon his arrival. It describes his arrival after 93 days alone at sea. The exerpt below captures his thoughts and elation at completing a journey that began as an idea more than five years ago. For more, check out the complete entry at his Facebook page, and his website.

It’s a Magnificently sunny morning, with a strong banks of trade wind clouds overhead and a stiff warm breeze pushing me into the leeward island of Antigua, in the Caribbean, after days of working the approach angles right and it’s still tight, but makeable.

All the colors are vivid and rich. Bursting with energy energy of the deep blue Caribbean sea

The water is a majestic emerald blue.

I’ve been paddling alone, solo, in the open ocean, for 93 days. I’ve covered over 4050NM/ 7500km. I’ve taken more than 2,008,800 strokes and we’ve raised over 6.5 Million Rand for charity!

It’s an incredible day. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve been working on and towards for half a decade now and it’s a day that will change history, the world, and both my life and the lives of millions of little children in South Africa forever!

It’s such a milestone event that people have flown in from all over the world to witness it and to be a part of it. Friends, family, press, media, and many people who have simply been inspired by this incredible story.

It’s a day that will redefine what’s Possible!

Leven Brown, my forecasting & routing guru has already come out to meet me 5-10 miles out, to check if I’m OK and help guide me in from way out if needed, but I’m ok, We’ve got my navigation and approach angles right, even with the adverse weather over the lays 3 days, we’re looking good!

As I approach the outer limit of the Bay at English HARBOUR and turn the corner into English Harbour, my body straining from fatigue, yet still surging with inspired energy and adrenalin surges, the pain in my shoulder, hands, and body disappear and is replaced by pure sense of renewed energy, upliftment, and joy. As the Bay opens up in front of me, I it.

Like looking at the Spanish armada coming out to greet me. There are boats and yachts of all shapes and sizes everywhere, a whole flotilla. It’s simply incredible!

Could this all really be to welcome me in? They are all here inspired by a remarkable story and to witness history take place. It’s all about to happen, right in front of me. The blueprint as I had visualized it, is unfolding right in that moment, before my very eyes.

As I reach them as they come out to greet me. I see my part of my team, some close friends, my partner, my brothers, and someone waving a huge South African flag and everyone starts going mental, screaming and cheering. it sets in and those emotions start to rise and overcome my ability to be able to hold them back and the tears start streaming down my face. Tears of stoke, elation, pride, and pure joy.

I raise my paddle with my one hand above my head and from deep within me like a primal roar from a lion staking his territory and he is King Of the Jungle, I let out a roar so, deep, loud and of primal decent.

It can be heard from miles.

It takes every last bit of strength, faith, courage and determination, that has kept me going, got me through every tough moment, every life threatening situation, every dark hour, every right moment, through my darkest fears. It’s my primal element of courage, belief, and strength for my purpose that has got me through to this exact moment, across more than 7500km, hazardous, and treacherous open ocean. Across the entire Atlantic Ocean and I am finally here, I am here and I don’t need to be strong and keep it together any longer, it’s been 93 days and it’s done and I let it all go.

I am home!

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Managing Editor Sean McCoy is a life-long outdoorsman who grew up hunting and fishing central Wisconsin forests and lakes. He joined GearJunkie after a 10-year stint as a newspaperman in the Caribbean, where he learned sailing and wooden-boat repair. Based in Denver, McCoy is an avid trail runner, camper, hunter, angler, mountain biker, skier, and beer tester.

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