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Monday, January 23, 2017

South African Adventurer Crossing the Atlantic on a SUP Board

This story was sent my way by a reader a couple of weeks back (Thanks Brian!), but it got lost in my inbox while I was at Outdoor Retailer. Still, it is such an amazing adventure that I just had to share.

Back on December 6, South African adventurer Chris Bertish set out on what promises to be one of the most challenging and wild waterborne expeditions of all time. That's when he hit the water in Agadar, Morocco on his attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddleboard, an undertaking that he has embarked upon to raise funds for charity.

Now, more than a month and a half into the voyage, Bertish has now paddled past the Canary Islands, and is making his way into the open ocean on his way to Antigua in the Caribbean. He is covering about 25 miles (40 km) each and every day, and at that pace he expects the journey to take roughly 120 days to complete, covering a total of 4500 miles (7500 km) in the process. Once he arrives in Antigua, weather permitting, Chris hopes to continue northward across the Caribbean Sea to end his adventure on the coast of Florida.

Of course, Bertish isn't paddling a typical stand-up paddleboard. He has a custom-built model that was designed for use on the open water and has a small, but comfortable cabin for him to take refuge in when he needs a rest. The vessel has four water-tight storage containers for keeping all of his gear, food, and other supplies protected from the elements. It also has a tank for storing 50 liters of water too, and is equipped with a para-anchor, which is a specially developed parachute that is deployed under the SUP board to hold it in place. The craft is about 20 feet (6 meters) in length, and reportedly weighs about 1335 pounds (600 kilos) too. Chris' SUP board also comes equipped with solar panels to help power his radios and satellite communications equipment, which allows him to stay in touch with those of us following along back home.

Bertish is paddling across the Atlantic to raise funds for the Signature of Hope Trust, Operation Smile, and The Lunchbox Fund, all of which are nonprofits that work to improve lives of the underprivileged in various ways. In this case, Chris is hoping to build schools, provide medical attention, and food for children in need. So far, he has raised nearly 5 million South African Rand, which is about $370,000.

We may be a month and a half into the SUP crossing, but there is still plenty of distance to be traveled before Chris is done. You can follow his progress at TheSUPCrossing.com, where you'll find live tracking and daily updates.

Good luck Chris.


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