Bart is the man for crazy adventures / tough challenges on a SUP. In 2011, he paddled from Hawaii’s Big Island to Kauai, 5 days and nights, 483 km across the Hawaiian archipelago in wind, waves and with the strongest currents on the planet. UPDATE!
Update from Bart. Change of plans due to too much ice and adverse weather he will now attempt to paddle 400km from Sisimiut to Ilulissat, Greenland
In 2012, he paddled from the UK to Holland, 182 km in 37.5 hours. Read the full story here.
On top of the physical challenge, he typically does those undertakings solo and unsupported, that means no one paddling with him, no boat or other support assisting him. A true adventurer.
This year, in between doing the key races in Europe, Battle of the coast, St. Maxime, Lost Mills, Orleron to name a few he quickly paddled the 220km Eleven City Tour non-stop in 28 hours and explored Europe via train and ISUPs.
He also stopped in Munich on my birthday for a SUP Surf session on a Bavarian river and told me about the latest adventure he is planning:
„This summer I will do a new crossing to raise awareness for the melting icebergs. THE ARCTIC CROSSING. This will be my most challenging crossing so far. Icebergs, remote location , weather and solo and unsupported 200 nautical miles across the Arctic ocean. It will be a very exciting expedition because it will be just above the Arctic circle from Canada to Greenland. A challenging one because of the ice bergs, weather and remote location. Right now I am in the middle of organizing this amazing crossing. Starboard is building me a special inflatable, big enough to spend a few days on., I will be sleeping. navigating, eating on this board for 3-5 days again. A new Sponsor is SUPSKIN, they are the maker of this incredible easy , light weight dry suit made for Stand up paddlers by stand up paddlers.
The start of the Arctic Crossing expedition is now planned for July 15. I will be flying to Canada, Montreal on July 15 and from there onward to Ottawa, then Ilqaluit and than a small airplane to Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut. This is a small airport in a village with only 500 inhabitants.
There I will test the gear and wait for a good weather window to cross from Canada to Greenland. So the actual crossing will start between July 16-23.
I have been studying the weather maps and gathering the gear after I came back from 4 weeks racing and traveling in Europe. This expedition involves a lot of different aspects. Paddle Gear, Navigation, food, safety, transportation to this remote location
PATAGONIA came along this adventure as my new sponsor and supplied me with warm clothing for this trip. Very stoked, very good gear. I will also have one thick and hooded Patagonia wetsuit in case of emergency.
Although I have a Epirb for extreme emergencies I also decided to bring a satellite phone this time. Since this has been my biggest challenge sofar I wanted to give peace of mind to my wife (Dagmar) and daughter (Soleil) and I can give daily updates of my progress.
With this crossing I would like to create more awareness for global warming. As I said earlier my inspiration for this crossing came from a documentary I saw 6 months ago. In ‘Chasing Ice’,James Balog shows, through 25 stationary cameras at 25 glaciers world wide, how fast glaciers are melting. He supports this with evidence that this is mainly due to global warming.“
Naturally, I had a few questions:
This is an amazing adventure you are planning, 200 nautical miles from Canada to Greenland. What kind of conditions are you expecting (temperature, wind, waves)? Will there be boats around or is that a very remote area?
“The conditions will be the most challenging part of this crossing. I will probably start from the place where I arrive, Qikiqtarjuaq from there it is 260 nautical miles to Sisimiut, Greenland. The ice is just disappearing and the water is just below freezing ( but doesn’t freeze because of the salt content), Als the winds ar generally not very strong ( between 5-20 knots) but they do change direction every day. So there will be days where I will try to make as much distance as possible and days where I have to wait and use my sea anchor or paddle with side or head winds. Swell is never a problem wind waves are if they come to much from the front because sit will stop the board. I will have 2 extra fins towards the front of the board to keep me in a straight line and I can paddle on both sides even with side winds. There won’t be many boats other than a few who fish there. Nunavut is a very remote province of Canada with only 6000 people living in an area the size of Western Europe. “
How long do you think the crossing will take and what board will you use? Will you stay on the board all the time and how will you sleep?
This crossing will take me between 4-7 days. I will bring food and water for 10. I will use an STARBOARD inflatable, the 16′ tandem which will make my life a little easier if I want to sleep or rest. I will be on the board the whole time. For sleeping I made a special inflatable mattress with high walls to protect me from the water and waves. I am working on a waterproof cover so I stay warm if stop paddling. Staying warm during paddling is easy but as soon as you stop it gets colder quickly.
What will you expect upon arrival in Greenland? How will it look over there? Certainly there won’t be a party like at the Spot after your UK-Holland crossing, no?
“I expect to arrive in a country full of glaciers full with colorful houses. By then I will be looking forward to a good meal and dry bed. No there won’t be a big party waiting in Greenland. But I will try to make contact with some local organizations in Sisimiut over the next days so I have a contact there. After that I would like to go a title further North to Ilulissat where the world 2nd biggest glacier coming to the sea is.
This time I have a lot of communication equipment with me and a tracker so it is easier to follow progress from the shore.”
That sounds truly amazing, good luck and be safe!
You can follow Bart on http://sup-crossing.blogspot.co.at/