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Morocco To Antigua: It Took Chris Bertish 2 Million Strokes And 93 Days To Paddle Across The Atlantic

South African Bertish is the first person to make a solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on a stand-up paddle board.

10/03/2017 07:29 SAST | Updated 10/03/2017 07:54 SAST
Facebook / Chris Bertish

South African Chris Bertish reached Antigua the hard way, paddling more than two million strokes on a stand-up paddle board (SUP).

He landed in English Harbour in Antigua on Thursday, reported The Sup Magazine.

"After 93 days, and paddling over 4,000 miles Chris Bertish has completed the first ever solo unassisted transatlantic sup crossing!" announced his team on his website.

Bertish is from Cape Town.

"Final Bonus Captains Log... Ocean Date: Thurs 9th March 17' — 8am, Antigua time/2pm RSA/ 4am USA. Bringing it all in and bringing it home... Full Circle! Now do you believe in I'mPossible!" wrote Bertish in his final Captain's Log on his website.

Bertish started on December 6 in Agadir, Morocco on his customised stand-up paddle board (SUP) and paddled the equivalent of a marathon every day for 120 days, landing in Antigua in the Caribbean. He plans to finish in Florida, U.S.

He did it to raise money for three charities: the Signature of Hope Trust, which builds schools in poor areas of South Africa; the Lunchbox Fund, which feeds thousands of children; and Operation Smile, which pays for life-changing surgery for children born with cleft lips and palates.

His crossing project is described on The Sup Crossing website.

Captain's log

On his way to the finish on Thursday, Bertish calculated that he'd paddled 4,050 nautical miles or 7,500km, more than 2,008,800 strokes. Giving up wasn't an option, he said.

"93days at sea.. Alone!"

He's raised more than R6,500,000 for charity so far and expects that gala dinners on his return will raise as much as another R6 million.

He inpired "hundreds of thousands of people" and he set three new world records, he said.

"Kids lives this project has and now will change over the next two decades — millions!

"It took everything I had for over 5yrs, just get this project up and myself to the start line in Morocco after building the #Impifish for this specific goal and purpose in England! Then it took every fiber in my being to get through each and every day & every never ending night, day by day, stroke by stroke, over 2 million, as I paddled smiles across the Atlantic and onto the faces of millions of little children in South Africa... I took everything to stay alive for 93 days and to finish this, as giving up was never an option!"

Bertish said the last 72 hours were the most difficult of the entire crossing due to weather and the angles of his final approach — "you can wait for the book for the full story".

Bertish doesn't like being told that it's impossible to do something so constantly pushed his limits since a child. He's also a big-wave surfer.

"I use visualization and visual imaging in all of my very big project or goals I have ever fulfilled. Not just in sport, but in all areas of my life," he wrote in his Captain's Log.

"I've already lived this day 350 times over, it's been real for me for a very long time, before it's actually happened. It's like seeing the future before it happens and then creating it!

"I can watch the movie in my head over and over in full HD.

"I can see the colors perfectly and in vivid raw, rich color.

"I can hear the sounds, smell the scents in the sea air, hear the people screaming, see the water moving in perfect motion and once I can play it in moving color with sight and sound, then I start adding the emotion, the Purpose, the 'Why' and I start stacking them, on on top of another, like layers, until they are so strong and powerful that I can feel them so deeply that when I play it back over in my mind I start feeling those emotions welling up within me and I have to hold back the tears of joy/ elation and pride..."

Bertish details his story on his website and plans a book.