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Using currents and wind to help Chris sup his way across the Ocean.

No one has ever crossed the Atlantic like this adventurer

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Friday, March 10, 2017, 2:17 PM - After paddling an astonishing 6,518 km across rough ocean waters, Chris Bertish of South Africa made landfall in Antigua's English Harbor Thursday as the first person to successfully cross the Atlantic on a stand up paddleboard.

His journey began in Agadir, Morrocco on Dec. 6, 2016. Bertish travelled on his custom built 20-foot-long stand up paddleboard about 70 km a day. The last three days proved to be the most difficult for the adventurer as he covered 230 km. He arrived in Antigua under stormy skies, according to The New York Times (NY Times).

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"The sky was really fierce and ominous," Bertish told the news agency. "But then the sun peaked its way through with this incredible gold and black beaming through the clouds. It was just beautiful, and it was just me in the middle of it."

Originally, Bertish had planned on making it to the coast of Florida, the NY Times reports. However, due to a series of vicious storm systems he was forced to change course.

The 42-year-old had access to navigational tools and by using anchors he was able to secure the vessel when needed. His $160,000 (CAD) board was designed by naval architect Phil Morrison, NY Times reports. 

"You can feel very inconsequential at sea," Bertish told the newspaper.

"When that happens, you have to tune in and get in sync with what's around you and go with the flow. It's the only thing that's going to help you survive out there for that amount of time. That said, there were definitely times when I was hanging on by a thread, just trying to keep it together."

During one particular storm near rocks off the Canary Islands, there was a moment where Bertish thought he was going to sink, he told the newspaper.

"The hatch was leaking, and I was running out of water."

After tearing his rotator cuff, several shark encounters, a series of problems with his paddle board and pushing his way through ferocious winds, Bertish finally made it to the other side.

"Everything that could possibly have gone wrong, went wrong," he told reporters a month ago. "It's been constant stress."

Bertish is an avid paddleboarder and surfer. In 2010, he won the world-renowned Mavericks Surf Contest in California.


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