South African becomes first man to cross Atlantic on a paddle board

Chris Bertish, a South African surfing and watersports professional just made a solo trip across the Atlantic Ocean…on a stand-up paddle board!

First of all, check out this contraption created by naval architect Phil Morrison. Not your standard vacation-rental fare, here. The SUP had a small sleeping space, GPS, radios, autopilot systems, satellite weather forecasting equipment and solar panels.

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Bertish made the 4,500-nautical mile trip from Agadir, Morocco to English Harbour, Antigua in 93 days, sustained by freeze-dried meals, protein shakes, and jerky.

He paddled the custom 1,360-pound craft an average of 43 miles per day. He also set the record for the furthest solo travel over open ocean in one day: 71.96 miles.

#thesupcrossing #carrickwealth @chrisbertish arrives in English Harbour to a heroes welcome. #passionwithapurpose

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After that primal display of victory, this heroic nautical caveman deserves an nickname as cool as these guys:


Chris Bertish maintained an engaging captain’s log via Facebook. He drank scotch on New Year and wrote about his run-ins with turtles and yachts.

In his final log, posted an hour before the trip’s completion, Bertish said: “A day I have been working toward for as long as I can remember … I’ve put everything on the line for this project for the last five years … everything!”

Bertish partnered with charities Signature of Hope Trust, the Lunchbox Foundation and Operation Smile, hoping to raise the funds to build at least five schools in South Africa, as well as funding cleft palate surgeries. He’s raised more than $400,000 thus far.


“The more time I can spend in the ocean, in any shape or form, the better. I’m a waterman and the ocean is my inspiration. It’s where I truly feel alive, comfortable, content, happy and free.

Nothing is impossible, unless you believe it to be.”

Chris Bertish

Prior to the SUP conquest, Bertish won the 2010 Maverick Big Wave Invitational and set the record for open ocean 12-hour nonstop SUP in South Africa. In 2013, he set the record for fastest time crossing the English Channel on a stand up paddleboard: 5 hours, 26 minutes.

It’s worth noting that the previous effort to cross the Atlantic via SUP didn’t last long – Frenchman Nicolas Jarossay tapped out after a week.

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A historic day full of emotion and pride #thesupcrossing #carrickwealth

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