Chris Bertish’s #TheSupCrossing Begins
Let’s start with some perspective.
For most paddlers, 4.6 miles is an average SUP session, 46 miles is a multi-day adventure and 460 miles will get you featured in SUP the mag.
For South African Chris Bertish those numbers are all just drops in the bucket. That’s because this big-wave surfer turned expedition paddler just began a solo, unsupported and unassisted SUP crossing of the Atlantic Ocean–all 4,600 miles of it.
Now, just let that number soak in.
Known as #theSupCrossing, Bertish departed Tuesday from the Northwest coast of Africa–Agadir, Morocco to be exact–on a custom-made standup paddleboard. The journey will see him spend four months at sea–just a man alone with his thoughts, a paddle, and a $100,000 board.
Nope that wasn’t a typo, Bertish’s custom rig has quite the steep price tag. In fact, the board took a team of engineers six months to build and features watertight sleeping quarters, multiple steering systems, storage space, radios, and most importantly, it’s self-righting. Not to mention, his craft is a mind-blowing 20-feet long and weighs over 1,300 pounds with everything in it.
Not exactly your average board, but then again, this isn’t your average expedition. He has spent months of intense training and five years of stringent planning for this mission. But he admits he couldn’t have ever attempted this mission without a lifetime of experience on the water.
“Everything I’ve done in my life has been invaluable to doing this project,” Bertish said. “For example, without my sailing background I would have no chance of putting this together.”
After making a quick stop in the Canary Islands to make sure everything is working properly, Bertish will attempt to paddle the equivalent of a marathon a day, for over 120 days straight. His goal is to reach the Caribbean Leeward Island of Anegada before ending the journey in Florida.
The journey is already getting international attention, but Bertish isn’t paddling for personal glory.
The main purpose of the crossing is to raise money for those less fortunate. #TheSupCrossing will directly support The Lunchbox Fund, Operation Smile and Signature of Hope with the target of raising over a million dollars. In addition, he wants to make the entire project a self-sustainable charitable initiative that will have a lasting legacy for generations to follow.
Some may say this expedition is a death wish, others that it is nearly heroics. For Chris, it represents the next step of a life spent pushing the boundaries.
“I don't believe you actually realize your full potential unless you keep pushing your comfort zone,” Bertish said. “Hopefully what I do helps inspire other people to believe in themselves and realize they can do more, be more, give back and make a difference in other people's life. It only needs to be a little bit but it all makes a difference in the end.”
Our exclusive interview with Chris Bertish about #theSupCrossing