Somebody get this man a glass of champagne! South African surfer Chris Bertish paddleboarded 4,050 miles across the Atlantic Ocean — by himself — on an impressive 93-day journey from Morocco to Antigua.
“It was pretty radical, pretty incredible, driven by a passion and a purpose greater than yourself — and that powered me to get through everything, day in and day out,” the 42-year-old athlete said in an interview with National Geographic about the feat, which has never been done before.
Bertish’s journey began off the coast of Agadir, Morocco, on December 6, 2016. He traveled on a custom-built, 20-foot-long stand-up paddleboard that cost an estimated $120,000, The Guardian reported. The board was crafted by naval architect Phil Morrison and took six months to build.
More than 13 weeks and an estimated 2 million strokes after starting the remarkable trek, Bertish reached English Harbour, Antigua, on Thursday, March 9, making him the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard.
The surfer wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday that the last 72 hours of his journey were the most difficult as he struggled through bad weather and exhaustion. “[It] took everything to stay alive for 93 days and to finish this, as giving up was never an option!” he wrote.
Bertish, who spent five years preparing for the trip, survived on freeze-dried meals and had multiple run-ins with sharks who approached his board, he wrote in his so-called “Captain’s Logs” on Facebook. He paddled between 12 to 15 hours each day.
“It’s more than the endurance side that was difficult to keep going,” he told National Geographic. “I had to manage the elements and manage myself mentally. I had massive system malfunctions that I was trying to troubleshoot myself.”
Bertish completed the journey to raise money for multiple charities including The Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile and Signature of Hope.
The last attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard was by French surfer Nicolas Jarossay, whose voyage ended after just one night, Sports Illustrated reported.
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