This Maniac Just Crossed the Atlantic on a Goddamn Paddleboard

All images: Chris Bertish / Facebook
All images: Chris Bertish / Facebook

When it comes to pushing oneself towards greatness, some of us vow to read more books or sign up for a 5K run. Others try to learn a new skill, like woodworking. Chris Bertish, however, decided to become the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean on a paddleboard because he is a crazy man.

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This was no ordinary paddleboard. Bertish, a big-wave surfer and sailing enthusiast, worked with naval architect Phil Morrison to create a custom-built 20-foot vessel with a tiny cabin and an even tinier sleeping berth. That’s where he stashed GPS equipment, a satellite weather system, radios, a satellite phone, and an autopilot system. On top of the craft they installed solar panels to keep all those gadgets charged, and Bertish also kept an emergency kit—complete with a life raft and flares—nearby just in case. He also had shark repellant handy, because, well, sharks are scary. The whole getup cost over $120,000 to build.

Illustration for article titled This Maniac Just Crossed the Atlantic on a Goddamn Paddleboard
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Miraculously, the 42-year-old South African paddled his way from Morocco to Antigua, alone, in just 94 days. That’s 4,500 nautical miles of unassisted and unsupported ocean-faring, although Bertish did encounter some yachts and cargo ships along the way. He also weathered some storms by strapping himself into a harness that connected to the paddleboard, which looks utterly terrifying.

Illustration for article titled This Maniac Just Crossed the Atlantic on a Goddamn Paddleboard

Again, this is not the same kind of raft you might try to ride on your beach vacation. The dashboard alone shows that it’s a highly sophisticated vessel. It’s even capable of righting itself if it flips over.

Illustration for article titled This Maniac Just Crossed the Atlantic on a Goddamn Paddleboard
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Bertish didn’t just pull off this world record for fun. He’s also raised nearly half a million dollars for kids in South Africa, while keeping his fans updated through a “captain’s log” posted to Facebook from his satellite phone. So at least the trip wasn’t totally lonely. It was definitely crazy, though.

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[Guardian]

Senior editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

admiralasskicker
Admiral Asskicker

I miss the days where I wasn’t constantly reminded that I am a boring person.