At about 8:30 AST this morning, South African big-wave surfer and SUP-er paddled into the mouth of Antigua’s English Harbor after a demanding three-month stand-up paddle session across the Atlantic Ocean. He started his journey on December 6th, 2016, from Agadir, Morocco, and over the past 120 days, has covered over 4,000 miles, completely crushing the standing world record for longest SUP journey (12 hours, previously held by Bertish himself).
Bertish, who won the Mavericks Surf Contest back in 2010 and paddles into monstrous waves just for the hell of it, is no stranger to grueling physical tests. But a solo SUP across an entire ocean is a new level of grueling. In a mid-route interview he did with SUP Magazine, Bertish said that the journey had turned into a nuanced challenge.
"I don't consider this to be a SUP adventure anymore. It has become the ultimate waterman project, using all my knowledge from everything to do with my saving, my navigation, my surveying, my surfing and being comfortable in giant storms and big waves. Dealing with everything you could possibly imagine and more and still staying positive and proactive to get through it, one challenge at a time."
Luckily, Bertish had a pretty pimped-out SUP to get him through these past few months of tricep-cramped paddling. The craft, which was 20 feet in length and weighed 1,350 pounds when fully loaded, was created by naval architect Phil Morrison and was designed with a watertight cabin at the nose of the board that contained Bertish’s food, sleeping gear, GoPros, and satellite communications.
As Bertish finally stepped back onto dry land this morning, he was cheered and greeted by friends and family. The money he raised from this project – the driving force behind this insane undertaking – will go toward Operation Smile, The Lunchbox Fund, and Signature of Funds.
Check back in with us next week, when we sit down with Bertish for a full interview about the trip.