South Africa 21.2.2017 05:46 am

Surfer Chris Bertish breaks another world record for charity

Chris Bertish navigates ImpiFish across the Atlantic. Picture: Supplied

Chris Bertish navigates ImpiFish across the Atlantic. Picture: Supplied

Chris Bertish will pay for one surgery for a child in South Africa through Operation Smile for every world record he achieves on his trans-Atlantic journey.

Internationally acclaimed speaker, big-wave surfer and Guinness World Records stand up paddleboard (SUP) world record holder Chris Bertish has set a new global mark.

He achieved a distance of 50.03 nautical miles in a 24-hour solo, unsupported and unassisted open ocean voyage. Bertish achieved this feat on February 15 on his specialised SUP, ImpiFish, which is six metres long.

This is the third world record he has achieved on his epic trans-Atlantic ocean adventure.

Bertish broke the record set by SUP endurance star Bart de Zwart of Hawaii.

“It was a beautiful morning,” Bertish said, “and I decided to give the ImpiFish a belly clean and changed out the centreboard to a smaller one and my paddle to a slightly smaller blade. It seemed like the conditions were good and I decided to give it a go, beginning at 12.00 GMT on Valentine’s Day.

“I had been thinking about trying to see if it was possible to break this world record, but I knew it would all be down to finding the right conditions, late in my journey, when the trade winds are the most consistent, when the craft is a little lighter, after eating a great deal of the rations and being at a point in the journey where I was most comfortable with myself and my craft.

“I have actually done over 46 miles a couple of times over the past month, but I wanted to do it officially and see if I could crack paddling 50 nautical miles in 24-hours, as I knew deep down inside, it was possible.”

Bertish will pay for one surgery for a child in South Africa through Operation Smile for every world record he achieves on his trans-Atlantic journey.

“I believe it’s important to set a good example to other sportsmen and women by using sporting achievements for good to positively influence,” he said.

“To help others and give back whenever possible. It’s our responsibility to be the best role model possible for our youth and those that look up to their heroes and idols.”

Tamlin Abrahams, Operation Smile South Africa’s regional director, central, southern and west Africa said: “Chris’s willingness to make a donation for each milestone achieved speaks to a larger impact in which his every stroke continues to change lives.

“We are honoured to be not only recipients of this momentous journey, but also partner with Chris as he changes lives one paddle stroke at a time.

“The SUP crossing is a record-breaking event but the legacy it will leave will be a world-changing one.”

Bertish holds multiple SUP distance world records.

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