It’s real. He’s almost home. Chris Bertish, at 320 nautical miles out, is due to land in Antigua next Thursday, March 9th 2017 and become the first man ever to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a paddleboard completely unassisted and solo. Chris is about to redefine the word ‘impossible’.
Chris Bertish: Redefining the word ‘Impossible’ – A Hero’s Journey
Chris Bertish began his journey 84 days ago when he launched off the coast of Africa in Morocco on December 6, 2016 and headed south between coastline Africa and the Canary Islands. Nobody knew what to expect. The previous attempt to cross the Atlantic solo on a stand up paddleboard was aborted in the first 24 hours due to malicious weather systems. Chris, too, ran into serious storms at the forefront of his paddle journey that made him drop sea anchor and wait out turbulent seas. But then, he began paddling…
“The words ‘Can’t’ and ‘Impossible’ are fire starters for me. They are my motivators and the catalyst for greatness and my greatest potential. They are the catalyst for change!” – Chris Bertish
To date, he has traveled 4050 nautical miles/7500 kilometers in over three months. Now with just over 300 nautical miles and one week to go, Chris is about to set the most incredible record yet and accomplish what some might have thought to be impossible.
The SUP Crossing: Paddling across the Atlantic Ocean to help others
The mission of Chris’s transatlantic crossing, now known at ‘The SUP Crossing’ is to raise over 1.5 million in US dollars for child-based charitable organizations including The Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile and Signature of Hope. Chris wants to leave a lasting legacy that will help generations to follow.
“Those two words [‘Can’t’ and ‘Impossible’] hold the key to Limitless living. It all starts just with the belief in self and the realization that you have the capability and capacity to do and achieve anything.”
He has personally committed to funding one operation for a child in Africa through Operation Smile for every World Record he achieves on his epic transatlantic journey. He has surmounted many of those World Records on his journey, including a new world record for a 24-hour solo, unsupported and unassisted open ocean distance standup paddle excursion. Chris, no stranger to World Records, holds multiple stand up paddling distance World Records, as well as the 12-hour SUP Distance Open Ocean Guinness World Record which still stands today.
Leaning into the Storm: It’s all about Perspective
“The squalls can be quite daunting,” says Chris. “Blinding rain and 25-35kts squalls can be pretty scary in the mid-ocean.”
In his most recent Captain’s Log (dated February 28, 2017), Chris attributes his success to years of preparation and a strong mental mindset that has seen him through the worst. Now, with the trade winds at his back and a few hundred nautical miles ahead to go, Chris has made a journey no one had even conceived possible before. This past week, when his journey home began to seem close, Chris hit a series of squalls that actually dragged him backwards when he dropped his sea anchor. He was actually losing ground every time he stopped paddling and lost hard won miles each day due to the storm systems. Tired, low on food and after having been through so much, Chris decided to revitalize his efforts rather than give in to the storms. He says,
“I started mentally analyzing my attitude to see if I could shift to change my perception to create different, more positive results.”
Chris then refocused his mind on the squalls as potential opportunities to capitalize on the weather and gain extra distance for himself. He decided to USE the storms to gather additional speed and distance and, in the process, has learned how to ride them out!
“So now, as I’ve shifted my comfort zone and perception, when I see a squally coming, my mindset has changed. Now I smile. I start laughing and go, “Hell YEAH!” Bring it on… And the mental challenge is to see the top speed I can get through the squall. That’s the mission, to see how much Surf Time I can get. Goooooooo IMPfish! Yesterday, I cracked 7.4 kts or over 12 km per hour. Stoked!”
Wednesday, March 8th:
A hero’s welcome is expected to greet Chris Bertish on the 9th of March, 2017 with a flotilla on the water to guide and encourage Chris to the finish line. Anyone in the Antigua and Leeward Islands area is encouraged to come down to support and celebrate this historic event. And WHAT an event that will be! Chris Bertish, we SALUTE you, your journey and your powerful purpose to help those children in need, paddling across the Atlantic to bring smiles to so many faces and inspiring countless others to believe that (YES, you CAN!) anything is possible. Aloha and God Speed these next few miles, Chris. We are with YOU, every stroke of the way~
“What would you do with your life, if you realized that there was no such thing as Impossible? Because there isn’t unless you choose to believe there is! Now that you know this, take daily steps and actions in the direction of your goals, your dreams and change your life accordingly.”