The First Attempt at 100 miles in 24 hours

100 Miles in 24 Hours Attempt

100 miles in 24 hours sounds impossible to the average paddler, but to South African waterman, big wave surfer and inspirational speaker Chris Bertish, it’s a natural progression. After his 12-hour, 130-kilometer (80 miles) open ocean paddle, he felt ready to try and push it over 100 miles. Starting at 6 pm on January 6 off the coast of South Africa, Bertish went for it. It was windy with a favorable forecast. But Mother Nature doesn’t always cooperate; six hours later, the open ocean conditions were getting out of control, both for Bertish and his support crew on the boat. It showed no sign of letting up. For his the the team’s safety, Bertish made the tough call to abort the mission. But he does not give up easily. He is determined to regroup and give it another go in February.

How did you set your sights on this project?
It was the next objective after the 12 hour record, to try and break the mythical 100 mile mark, in under 24 hours.

You told us about your prep for the 12 hour paddle; how did the prep for this one compare?
Very different. Long distances at slow speed. Its the story of the tortoise, not the hare that will win this race.

Tell me about your support crew.
Four people on the boat, for film, video, nutrition and general shift changes back up person. Three Skippers on the boat and one swimmer/rescue diver.

Tell me about the forecast and what you thought you were getting into when you took off.
Its not like on land where everything is a constant, what is forecast in weather and sea conditions is often very different to what you get, especially when you get more than 20 miles offshore.

Explain the moment when it all became too much to handle.
When the sea and weather state became to dangerous to continue at night.

How much did your decision to stop hinge on the support crew you had with you?
Its all about safety, whether that be to myself or my support crew. The number one goal is always to get everyone back to land alive and in one piece.

Are you going to go for it again?
For sure. Implement some further safety measures and changes to start times, location and route.

How soon might you attempt it?
1st- 21st Feb 15

Anything else you’d like to add?
There’s no such thing as failure in life, only a failure to try.

Photo by: Grant Scholtz
Photo by: Grant Scholtz

To check out more of Chris’s excursions and accomplishments, click here.