Exclusive: Mid-Ocean Phone Call with Trans-Atlantic Paddler

On the morning of February 14, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day, I was eating breakfast with my wife when my phone started buzzing in a way I wasn’t familiar with. I looked at my phone and realized that I was being called by Chris Bertish, the man who is currently paddling across the Atlantic. Like, he’s out there right now, my himself, most likely paddling one stroke at a time toward Antigua, his final landing point.

I could hardly believe that this was possible. But with today’s technology (we used WhatsApp) he was able to describe the wild weather conditions he’s had for the first 3,000 kilometers of his journey, the injuries he’s dealing with and how he’s keeping it all together mentally. Listen to part one of our exclusive conversation with Bertish and read a few of the highlights below. We’ll be releasing the remainder of the interview next week, so stay tuned!–Will Taylor


@1:10 – “I've had a pretty tough run of it but I'm through the worst of it. The last 850 nautical miles should be a little smoother and easier to work with. I'll have the swell behind me instead of from my quarter that I've had.”

Major challenges

@2:56 – “That really heavy band of trades I had for two weeks solid was testing on every level because it was just relentless. I don't mind those conditions for a couple days in a row but it was just nonstop for almost two weeks. My systems and myself were just really embattled to just make it through and survive. My craft was taking on water, I couldn't open my hatches, I was underwater most of the time and I don't think most people understand the severity of that kind of problem…I have a sea grass growing on my entire deck because it's underwater the entire time.”


@5:55  – “I don't consider this to be a SUP adventure anymore. It has become the ultimate waterman project, using all my knowledge from everything to do with my saving, my navigation, my surveying, my surfing and being comfortable in giant storms and big waves. Dealing with everything you could possibly imagine and more and still staying positive and proactive to get through it, one challenge at a time.”


@8:52 – “Everything is looking great. The positive feedback I am getting from all around the world in regards to this project and how I’ve helped inspire people all around the world and changed the lives of millions of people and millions of kids…So this project you can see how it's growing and how it is impacting so positively on people around the world and that drives and inspires me to want to push it and finish it even more.”


Read about Bertish’s shark encounter in the Atlantic from his most recent Captain’s Log.

More Chris Bertish coverage.