SUP: Stand-up paddler attempts to cross the Atlantic on solar-powered board

On 6th December, daredevil Chris Bertish did what many would dismiss as crazy. He took his solar-powered stand up paddle board and set off from Agadir Marino in Morocco and starting his journey to the shores of Miami, Florida. Bertish would need about four months and 4,500 miles of paddling in order to complete his journey.

“I’ve been hearing that I’m nuts all my life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” Bertish said in his interview with the New York Times. “I’ve been proving people wrong all of my life. But I’ve always wanted to push the boundaries because that’s where the magic happens.”

To complete his journey, he used a special SUP that was designed by Phil Morrison. It cost Bertish £110,000 and is the length of the average boat, allowing him to sleep at night and do simple stretches in the morning. The special SUP also has everything he needs for survival such as food and water storage systems, GPS, weather instruments, emergency locater, and solar panels that recharge the SUP’s batteries.

The SUP may seem expensive but it is custom made for these types of excursions and ensures that it doesn’t capsize in the middle of the sea.

Before journeying out to sea, Bertish spoke with many media outlets. In a slew of interviews he revealed how he was well aware that it would push him to the limits both mentally and physically.

“Once at sea, Bertish can expect to battle rough seas, sun exposure and tricky tides and currents, as well as unforeseen obstacles,” said a Times journalist. “Hoping to use the tides and weather conditions to his benefit, Bertish plans to paddle about 30 miles a day, mostly at night, to avoid exposure to the sun for more than 120 days. On a typical day, Bertish said he will alternate between resting and paddling every two or three hours. He will continuously hydrate and will nourish himself with protein shakes, freeze-dried meals with endurance additives, and salty jerky to replenish the electrolytes he will lose through sweating.”

Bertish isn’t the first to attempt to traverse transatlantic seas using only an SUP. Frenchman Nicolas Jarossay attempted a similar journey, however his SUP capsized hours after setting off.

Stand up paddling as a sport has grown exponentially over the last decade. It has even seen its popularity influence digital mediums. Due to this increase in participation, Treyarch released the popular Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer, which has sections for both traditional surfing and SUP. On the other hand, famous games such as Wipeout, which is being featured by gaming site Spin Genie, is obviously a nod to SUP’s surfing roots, which seem to be quite popular amongst the casual demographic.

While the popularity of SUP continues to increase, Bertish’s ambitious attempt will only increase the amount of column inches the sport on a whole receives from the mainstream media.

During his trip, Bertish has taken his trusty guitar and an onboard music player with him to keep him company. The player is said to be preloaded with songs by Creed, INXS and Johnny Clegg.

Bertish’s current location can be viewed live on his website.

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