World

French stand-up paddler sets off on 5,000-km solo Atlantic crossing

AFP-JIJI

Frenchman Nicolas Jarossay set off Sunday on a 5,000-km (3,000-mile) odyssey to become the first person to cross the Atlantic solo — on a stand-up paddle board.

Jarossay, a 38-year-old firefighter and endurance sports fanatic, left Praia on the Cape Verde coast on the first stage of an ambitious trip that is scheduled to see him paddle in to the French Caribbean island of Martinique in just over two months time

He left port midafternoon, organizers said, on a modified paddle board that was 7 meters long and 83 cm wide, almost double the length of the classic board much beloved of sporty beachgoers with a sense of balance from Bali to Brazil.

The Frenchman’s “livable” version allows him to squeeze into a basic sleeping compartment 2.2 meters long and 45 cm high.

The “cabin” area will also allow a little storage space for freeze-dried provisions.

Solar panels fitted to the mini craft will allow Jarossay to charge up equipment as required.

Before setting off he told paddlers web platform TOTALSUP he had been plotting his journey for three years and decided against deploying a guide vessel after a nightmare.

“I am out there in the ocean paddling with my food on board the SUP for the day and a heated argument breaks out with the people on the boat who take off and leave me in the middle of the Atlantic,” said Jarossay, who added his adventure would cost around $50,000, which he hoped to recoup from sponsors and donations.

Thereafter, “it became clear to me that I should do the whole crossing without assistance and in total autonomy!”

Jarossay’s attempt comes five years after U.S. paddler Alex Linnell set a world record on his board by negotiating the entire length of the Mississippi River, some 3,780 km.

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