Atlantic crossings are pretty popular for the adventurous spirit. Several times a year we see news of a new solo attempt via any and every watercraft imaginable, sprinkled in with the occasional successful trip. Big wave surfer and SUP World Record holder Chris Bertish is going to add a new first to that list starting in December. He hopes to become the first person to make a solo transatlantic crossing, unsupported and unassisted on a custom made 6-meter long SUP.
The journey is scheduled to start in December, spanning 4 months in which Bertish will paddle a marathon a day, covering 4,600 miles of saltwater between Morocco and northern Florida. For five years, Bertish has mapped out the details of his trip. But best of all it won’t just be a massive bucket list item to pad his own list of accomplishments. He’s enlisted the help of others to make it happen, as well as ensuring the feat helps others.
Through sponsorship opportunities aboard his SUP, teaming up with corporate sponsors and a Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, the SUP crossing will support the Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile, Signature of Hope and Two Oceans Aquarium. Corporate sponsorships numbering in the millions of dollars have already guaranteed success, providing opportunities like a monthly dividend for theLunchbox Fund that will feed between 20,000 to 30,000 impoverished children a month. With Operation Smile, the SUP Crossing will pay for cleft lip and palate surgeries every 3-5 days, and if enough money is raised, Bertish’s crossing hopes to build at least five schools in some of the poorest parts of South Africa throughSignature of Hope.
While the campaign has already raised a lot of attention and funds for those different organizations, Bertish’s separate crowdfunding campaign is dedicated to the meat and potatoes of actually getting from Point A to Point B, otherwise known as paddling across the ocean. The final tab for equipment, including the custom made 20+ foot SUP, satellite, radar, GPS and safety equipment he’ll need for the journey requires another $25,000. That’s a pretty penny for a custom SUP, but it also proves nothing gets done on the shoulders of a single person.
“Even though a lot of what I use to do surfing big waves is very individual,” Bertish wrote, “I’ve learned a great deal over the last 5 years with the SUP Expeditions, that you can only achieve these feats and survive to tell the tale with a great, reliable and professional team behind you.”