In the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, thousands of miles from land, a rogue wave knocked Chris Bertish off his paddleboard. The impact partially inverted the entire craft and pulled him under as he clutched onto his satellite phone. “I was dragged underwater in my full foul-weather gear by my harness tether, still attached to my safety lines on deck while trying to still keep the sat phone above water, trying to ensure I didn’t lose my most valuable tool for communication,” Bertish later wrote in his captain’s log. The loss of the satellite phone would have been devastating. He still had almost two months—and over 2,000 miles—of paddling ahead of him.
Bertish had departed Morocco on December 6 in a customized stand-up paddleboard with a plan to cross the Atlantic. The vessel, called ImpiFish, was designed specifically for the journey, outfitted with navigation tools and a cabin in which he could take cover when the waves got unruly. The ImpiFish would be Bertish’s home for the next 93 days. During that time, Bertish would paddle close to 4,000 miles (the equivalent paddling distance of a marathon every day for 120 days) between Agadir, Morocco, and the Leeward Island of Antigua in the Caribbean. He called this “The SUP Crossing.” (continued)