PADDLER: Chris Bertish

Chris Bertish needed a warm up. The South African chose the west coast of his home country, a 320-kilometer stretch from Cape Point to Lamberts Bay known for it’s cold water, powerful wind, raw surf and large, toothy marine life. Bertish had to earn his finish: he only had nine kilometers of downwinding the whole trip (sometimes fighting a 30-40 knot cross-wind), he paddled past sharks, he got as far as 15 miles offshore and his exposure to the sun was so intense that he temporarily went blind and lost the skin off the top of his feet. But he made it in eight days completely unassisted, with no safety net. “I thought I was going to die numerous times,” he told SUP magazine. What was he warming up for? Bertish is planning a 3,500 kilometer supported paddle across the Atlantic for this winter. Hardcore.