Maui distance extraordinaire Bart de Zwart raises his staff in celebration of his new 24-hour distance record. Photo courtesy of Starboard SUP

Bart de Zwart Speaks On His New 24-Hour SUP Record

On May 29, Maui paddler Bart de Zwart claimed the 24-hour SUP distance world record after logging an unbelievable 120.4 miles in a single day. The feat officiates a trend in endurance paddling underway, with de Zwart's record overtaking two others set within the past six months. The 120.4-mile effort gives de Zwart the title after exceeding English paddler Joanne Hamilton-Vale's record-setting attempt of 111.84 miles, which she completed in April to narrowly beat out Robert Norman's previous record of 111.8 miles set back in February. The turn of events once again reaffirms de Zwart's reputation as the undisputed king of distance paddling. Here’s how the record-setting expedition went down in de Zwart’s own words.

There were moments of calm between the storms throughout de Zwart’s 24-mile paddle, but don’t let the calm water fool you. He had his share of elements to combat throughout the record-setting journey. Photo courtesy of Starboard SUP

Bart de Zwart: I started the day before in nice conditions. I used a Starboard Sprint unlimited, with 21.5 (inches wide), just stable enough to stand on it for 24 hours.

The first three laps (10.5 km each) went well. With a 9.2km/hr average speed, the record was right on track.

Soon after, clouds came in and gathered to form thunder and lighting. Luckily it stayed in the mountains nearby but the winds steered up, changing directions every 20 minutes. At some point around six hours into the attempt, I was doing 6km/hr, not really record-breaking speed. In the next few hours the wind lightened up but having used a little more energy than I should have in the windy conditions, my average speed went down in the next few hours.

De Zwart preps in twilight for the 24-hours ahead. Photo: Starboard SUP

I had to adjust my goals. My first goal was to break the existing  179.99 km record. My secondary goal was 192 km and I hoped for 200km. But it became clear pretty quick that the 200 km would be hard to complete in these conditions. I kept a pretty good pace during the night and picked it up slightly during the day. Racing like this is very different than any other long-distance race I have ever done. It is a constant pressure of not loosing time and watching your speed.

I have four different GPSs on the board to document the distance paddled. Which is required (by Guinness) for a documenting a record like this. My support was a crew consisted of Joanne Hamilton-Vale (women 24-hour distance record holder) and two locals, Micheline Hauchecorn and Philipp (SUP station, Erlach). Every couple hours they supplied me with a fresh hip bag with my liquid drinks and some solid food. I had one bladder filled with Hammer, Perpethuem (liquid endurance food) and one with water. The perpethuem energy drink gave me a constant energy level. Apart from that I used energy bars, bananas and nuts.

Bart de Zwart, all shakas and smiles after setting a new 24-hour record at 193.8 km. Photo: Starboard SUP

During the afternoon when I got closer to the finish of the 24 hours it looked like I would get to my 192km goal. I was hurting everywhere, at times it was hot and at times there was wind again. But knowing I was breaking the record motivated me even more.

The first part of a setting record like this power, strength and endurance. The second part of a 24 hour paddle is endurance but mostly mental. Coping with sore muscles and just keeping going, although every part of your body wants to stop and relax. After 22 hours and 20 minutes, I broke the original record and finished the 24 hours with 193.8km. New World Record set!

Read more:

The State of Expedition Paddling

Meet Bart de Zwart