Chris Bertish

Based: Cape Town

Chris Bertish likes to say that he’s just a normal guy. A Regular Joe facing the same life struggles as you and I. The difference with Chris is that he is willing to throw himself over the ledge of an ocean wave the size of a four-storey building, paddle unsupported for seven days up treacherous coastlines, alone and in extreme winds while battling the elements, and paddle across the Atlantic on his Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP).

He won the Mavericks Big Wave International surfing event in the biggest and heaviest waves ever recorded in the history of the sport, after a 40-hour plane trip, on borrowed equipment, as his was lost in transit. He has a string of other notable world firsts under his belt, which most people are completely unaware of and he won’t be the one to mention it either.

Chris won the Mavericks event against all odds and in some of the most life-threatening conditions ever surfed in a competition and has broken a string of records paddling on his SUP.

Chris recently returned from competing in the Stand Up Paddle World Championships in Peru for a second time, where he placed in the top 10 in the world after completing a never-attempted, unsupported, solo 325km paddle up the West Coast of South Africa.

He has just set a new Open Ocean 12-hour non-stop SUP World Record and next year he aims to be the first person to paddle an SUP across the Atlantic Ocean. Chris’s mission is to raise money for charities like the the Lunchbox Fund through his expeditions.

Chris is so comfortable in the ocean he succeeds at things that you and I would never even think of doing, or believe are even possible!

Along the way Chris has learnt some very hard lessons, overcome many severe obstacles and achieved success repeatedly, against all odds, often in life-threatening conditions.

Chris applies all these trials, tribulations and joys into an inspiring and moving story. He travels all over the world inspiring audiences to believe that they too can achieve great things with the right Self-belief, Attitude and Focus. It’s just a matter of choice. In addition to Chris’s global keynote addresses, he is also a past TEDx and FEAT guest speaker.

Chris has a motto that captures his attitude to both overcoming struggle and achievement. “Dream it, See it, Believe it, Achieve it.”

It’s that simple and he has proven time and again that if you truly believe in something and you set your sights on that goal – no matter how big – if you work hard at it, stay focused, determined, resilient and never give up, you can achieve anything.

And for Chris, that desire always brings him back to water, the element of change:

“The more time I can spend in the ocean, in any shape or form, the better. I’m a waterman and the ocean is my inspiration. It’s where I truly feel alive, comfortable, content, happy and free.”

“Nothing is Impossible, unless you believe it to be…” Chris Bertish

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