As a big wave surfer who won the legendary Mavericks surf contest in 2010, Chris Bertish is a pro at standing on water. However, he really proved his balance and toughness on the sea by becoming the first person to ever cross the Atlantic Ocean solo and unsupported on a stand-up paddleboard (SUP).
Bertish took over two million strokes to travel 4,050 miles in 93 days. He started at Agadir Marina in Morocco and finished the epic trip in Antigua on Thursday. Originally, his final destination was going to be northern Florida, but he had to alter his route due to vicious weather.
The 42-year-old South African used a custom-made 20-foot paddleboard designed by a naval architect. It had a small shelter where Bertish could sleep and take cover from bad weather. He averaged about 44 miles per day, and did most of his paddling at night to keep cool.
“You can feel very inconsequential at sea,” Bertish told The New York Times. When that happens, you have to tune in and get in sync with what’s around you and go with the flow.
“It’s the only thing that’s going to help you survive out there for that amount of time. That said, there were definitely times when I was hanging on by a thread, just trying to keep it together.”
Bertish did it for both the adventure and for charity. The money Bertish raised will go to The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit that aims to provide nutrition to orphans and at-risk children in South Africa. A portion of the proceeds will also go to Operation Smile South Africa, which provides free surgeries to kids and adults, and to Signature of Hope to build small schools in areas of South Africa that are lacking money and educational facilities.
So, you probably have some logistical questions like how did he sleep, where did he go to the bathroom, and what happened if he capsized. He answers some of those questions and more on his YouTube channel.
Where he sleeps:
What happens if he capsizes?
How he goes to the bathroom
— Chris Bertish (@chris_bertish) March 9, 2017