Surviving 93 days at sea with just a paddleboard

 
 
 

What does it take to redefine impossible? When Chris Bertish set out to cross the Atlantic Ocean with just a stand-up paddleboard, he was certain he’d face unimaginable terrors. But having planned this challenge for five years, the adventurer was relentless. His greater purpose – to transform the lives of children – pushed him forward.

In December 2016, Bertish began his voyage from the coast of Morocco to the Caribbean island of Antigua. His custom-built stand-up paddleboard, the ImpiFish, included shelter, navigation, and communication technology inside the hull. Travelling at an average of 69 kilometres per day, Bertish paddled at night to avoid excessive sun exposure. But two weeks into his journey, disaster struck. Bertish hit stormy weather, dangerous waves and technical trouble. He persevered, completing his mission 93 days and 7 500 kilometres later.

The ocean pioneer, author and inspirational speaker set a Guinness World Record with his feat. But Bertish takes pride in the impact of his actions. The journey raised enough money to fund close to 1 000 surgeries for children with cleft palates through Operation Smile. “I’ve always believed in giving back and being a better human being,” Bertish says. His intrepid spirit ripples throughout South Africa. “Through these adventures, I’d like kids to be encouraged, inspired, and never give up on whatever they set their mind to achieve,” Bertish says.