Since mankind first ventured beyond the horizon, crossing an ocean has been regarded in mythical proportions from the ancient Vikings to Christopher Columbus and the Polynesians. Moderns crossings in various crafts such as solo sailing and rowing are too regarded with legendary accolades.
South African Chris Bertish will attempt to make the record books with the first solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard. Bertish will be embarking in December on his 4,500-mile solo journey dubbed The SUP Crossing, which is expected to last 130 days.
Bertish will be the first to cross the Atlantic on an SUP, but he is not the first to have tried such a feat. Earlier this year Nicolas Jarossay had to be rescued just a week into his attempt and almost died. Jarossay’s ordeal was due to equipment failure, which severed his rudder line causing the craft to flip over. Bertish is hoping he’ll have better luck.
The board Bertish will use resembles the various row boats — and Jarossay’s long distance SUP — that competitors have used previously to cross the Atlantic with tiny compartments down below for eating, sleeping and taking shelter.
Around 500 people have made the crossing by rowing, including a couple who did it in 153 days in 2014. Bertish is making the crossing on an SUP from Morocco to Florida to raise money for children’s charity. He plans to keep up a pace of roughly 38 miles per day while communicating with school kids along the way.
Bertish already holds the 24 hour distance record on an SUP and for the past four months has been paddling 60-80 miles per week. In 2010 Bertish won the Mavericks Surf Content, so he’s no stranger to big waves, but out on the open ocean is something else entirely.
In an interview with GrindTV he said it’s essential to have backups of all your equipment, but getting out of the elements will be key. “I realized I coudl do adventures of more than 200 miles on the open ocean if I could find a way to get myself out of the sun.”