While the rest of us are as comfortable as sugar plumbs in our beds, a lone man is working his way across the Atlantic, one stroke at a time. Former big wave champ and waterman extraordinaire, Chris Bertish is headed out to sea…the Atlantic Ocean, that is, this Christmas season.
Storms and Systems Breaking:
Chris’ journey began two weeks ago when he launched his standup paddle craft, the IMPFish, from the North West coast of Morocco with the impossible dream of becoming the first waterman to cross the Atlantic Ocean, one stroke at a time, solo and unassisted on a standup paddleboard. In this spirit of holiday giving, Chris is giving everything he has to raise awareness and funds for underprivileged children throughout Africa.
“Been a pretty intense and scary past seven days,”
Chris proclaims of his recent encounters with a broken main foot steering system on his standup paddling craft, the IMPfish while on the first leg of his transatlantic voyage. In addition, he had a lot to worry about regarding his direction when the autopilot went down. The last we checked in with him, he was readying himself for a severe storm system that was headed his way.
As he reports from his Captain’s Log on Dec. 22nd, he spent 2 days and 2 nights battling 5.5 meter waves (hello? meters? Does that mean 25+ foot surf?!!) and 35 knot winds.
In the midst of the chaos, his foot steering system broke. When he was finally able to make repairs, underwater beneath the board, he badly cut his finger when it got trapped in a line around the rudder. “Intense and scary,” is an understatement!
A NEW World’s Record for Chris
After bearing the brunt of that storm and finishing repairs, Chris Bertish cleared his head and muscled on to set a new World Record. On December 22nd, Chris became the first individual to ever paddle, solo and unassisted, over 300 miles across open ocean.
“I am stoked to get through this monumental stage and past the Canary Islands,” he said of his World Record. He is looking forward to, “the transatlantic stage of the Crossing and better conditions. Knowing that we’ve almost raised enough to build one school and to feed and make an exponential difference for so many more kids is the best Christmas present I could receive.”
This World Record took him between the coastline of Africa and the entire Canary Island range between Fuerteventura and Grand Canaria. He is currently about 460 miles into his 4,200 mile journey.
More than the Miles: Chris is Paddling for Causes to Bring HOPE to African Youth
Chris is stoked about his new World Record, but he is even more excited about recent news that The Sup Crossing has raised over four million dollars for the Crossing’s charity initiatives.
“This incredible journey which is going to change the lives of millions of children in Africa is what will keep driving and inspiring me right till the end,” says Bertish.
The organizations benefiting from his transatlantic solo standup paddle voyage include The Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile and Signature of Hope. All of these charities assist underprivileged children with cleft palates, provide food & nutrition to youngsters and help fund the building of schools.
“I will keep paddling for those smiles across kids’ faces, all over Africa,” says this real-life Santa Claus using his standup paddleboard for a sled. In the spirit of giving and receiving, we are honored to have such a tribesman representing our sport and creating a real gift for so many. Our thoughts and good wishes are with you this holiday, Chris. May we ALL learn the power of giving from such a steady and great spirit. Aloha!
Next Leg on the Transatlantic Crossing
The next leg of Bertish’s voyage will take him to the Caribbean Sea where he will continue to paddle a grueling 10 hours a day in order to reach his goal.
For MORE information on Chris Bertish’s 4,600 mile Transatlantic Crossing on a paddle board, check out his journey’s OVERVIEW on Standup Journal online!