Chris Bertish’s SUP Crossing: the Facts

On the 6th of December 2016, Chris Bertish, the professional waterman and adventurer from South Africa, left the shore of Morocco to start an incredible journey across the Atlantic on a stand-up paddle board, unassisted! He is currently reaching half of his voyage and looks set to become the first man to complete a Transatlantic SUP Crossing. We caught up with Chris’s communication crew to get all our facts right!


Hello Team, how long is Chris Bertish’s SUP crossing expected to take?

Hi there, Chris is expected to cross the Atlantic in 100 to 120 days for an estimated distance of 4,500 miles.

What route did he choose?

Departing from Agadir, Morocco, to the Canary Islands, across the Atlantic to the Leeward Islands, ending on the East Coast of Florida.

Why was this particular crossing route chosen?

Chris wanted to depart from the African continent, because he is deeply patriotic and an African through and through! He also wanted to follow the ancient spice routes that have been used over thousands of years. Another key factor was migration, current and winds which will assist with successfully completing the crossing. Lastly it’s a continent to continent crossing that creates a smile across the ocean.


What is Chris’s daily paddling schedule?

Chris will complete 2-3 hour off/on shifts in a 24 hour period for 7 days a week.


Though Chris Bertish is unassisted, is he being followed by a boat or team with support and supplies?

No one is supporting him on the ocean, only a land-based team is giving him daily updates on routing and weather forecasts. All supplies are carried on the craft including food and water. The entire craft has a zero carbon footprint and is be completely man and solar powered.


Where and how does he sleep?

Chris sleeps in the front cabin, which is 1.27m in length, exactly Chris’ body length. Chris will still be able to track progress and see instruments, cabin is completely water tight and very safe. Chris is sleeping on a mattress with a sleeping bag in the cabin.


Chris Bertish SUP crossing


What was the inspiration behind The SUP Crossing?

Chris is constantly testing and challenging himself. He is redefining what’s possible. It is a constant evolution, and growth is essential. All the events over the last 5 years that Chris has experienced is a natural progression; sailing, surfing, surfing big waves, supping, and setting records. Chris believes that if it can be completed by sail and robo power the next progression was to go unassisted. He holds 30 years of sports and training, sailing, surfing, navigation, big waves and SUP experience, which has prepared him for this monumental SUP crossing. After completing the 12 hour distance record and then a 7 day, 350 km paddle, it made him realize what is possible and the SUP Crossing was the next logical step.


What does he eat/drink and uses for nutrition and supplements?

Freeze dried food, bolstered with some biltong (a form of dried, cured meat that originated in South Africa), numerous super foods, and endurance snacks (i.e. race food, endurance food). Meal Plan: Three freeze dried meals a day with nutritional add-ons. He requires 10 -15 liters of water a day and adding in electrolyte, rehydrate, protein mix into his hydration plan after every shift to assist with recovery.


Chris Bertish SUP Crossing


How did he train for the different elements found all along the Atlantic?

Chris’ training plan was dominated with multi-sport training and a focus on endurance, paddle boarding, low impact and high resistance training. An average week consisted of 40 – 60 miles of paddling per week, running 3-4 times a week (3-6 miles), swimming 3 times a week, and surfing a few times a week.


How did he prepare mentally for the crossing?

As a big wave surfer and seasoned waterman, previous experiences have primed Chris to deal with deeply challenging events, and rapidly changing scenarios. He has been mentally preparing for this project over the last several years and will use all these elements to overcome and minimize any risks in emergency situations.


Chris Bertish SUP crossing


What tools and electronics are used to navigate the crossing?

-In depth weather forecasting via satellite communication
– Professional weather and routing service
– One of the most experienced transatlantic row experts assisting with weather, Routing, and logistics.
– VHF DSC Radio
– Handheld VHF RADIO
– Fixed Inmarsat sat phone
– Inmarsat BGAN (data satellite communication system)
– Inmarsat BGAN satellite tracker system
– Inmarsat handheld satellite phone
– Inreach iridium explorer PLB(personal locator beacon)
– Radar
– AIS(Automatic Identification System) System
– GPS/Radar integration
– Handheld GPS
– Manual compass
– All wind/speed SOG (Speed over Ground) navigation systems
– Emergency grab bag
– Life raft
– Water desalinator
– Back up Manual water desalinator
– 2 sets of solo panel units to power all electronics
– 1 back up handheld solo unit and separate battery pack
– Emergency flares
– Water bladders
– Multiple repair tool
– Auto Pilot
– Personal drone
– Numerous GoPros


Chris Bertish SUP crossing


What happens if there is an accident or snag along the way?

Chris is an ex-first aid instructor and has completed an accredited ocean survival course to ensure that any medical issue can be addressed. He also has a satellite-feed doctor Available 24/7 for consult throughout the crossing and world renowned medical expert, Professor Tim Noakes on standby

Can we follow Chris Bertish online?

Yes, you can follow Chris in real time on  and on his Facebook page:

About the Author

Mathieu Astier

Mathieu is the hyper-active founder of TotalSUP and a multilingual online marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience working for top international internet companies. His love-at-first-sight for Stand Up Paddling in 2013 led him to build one of the leading online media dedicated to SUP in English and French and to turn his family lifestyle towards the ocean.

To follow Mathieu: