From awe-inspiring journeys and feats of endurance to record-breaking performances, these SUP achievements made 2022 a thrilling year.
5 most impressive SUP feats of the year
1 The Great Danish Paddle
Casper Steinfath | Denmark
Leave it to the viking of SUP to dream up this challenge. In May, professional paddleboarder Casper Steinfath completed The Great Danish Paddle, a circumnavigation of Denmark.
“The whole idea came about as a continuation of my Viking saga, where I crossed the oceans of Skagerrak and Kattegat,” said Steinfath in an interview with Red Bull, referring to his crossing of the sea between Denmark and Sweden, and the crossing between Denmark and Norway.
Steinfath’s circumnavigation saga wasn’t without challenges fit for lore: he battled rain, high winds, open seas and even snowstorms. He completed his quest on May 25, landing in his hometown of Klitmøller on his 14-foot Naish board. The 54-day expedition saw Stenfaith paddling for 277 hours to cover the 900 miles and camping along the way.
2 Canada’s Great Lakes Crossing
Mike Shoreman | Great Lakes, Canada and USA
It takes a remarkable person to rise up from a challenging situation and take on an incredible feat. Mike Shoreman had a thriving SUP business until he contracted Ramsay Hunt syndrome in 2018, which impacted his vision, mobility and balance. Doctors said he would never paddle again. Not surprisingly, the diagnosis and life-altering change deeply affected Shoreman’s mental health.
Fortunately, Shoreman found the support he needed and has since become a mental health advocate himself. He has relearned how to paddleboard—an impressive accomplishment in itself. But he didn’t stop there.
This summer, Shoreman launched Canada’s Great Lakes Crossing with the aim to become the first person with disabilities to cross all five Great Lakes on a paddleboard.
At the time of publication, Shoreman had raised more than $60,000 benefitting jack.org, which supports youth mental health in Canada, and had crossed lakes Superior, Erie, Huron and Michigan, with only Lake Ontario remaining.
3 North Channel crossing
Samantha Rutt | The North Channel, United Kingdom
On July 1, Samantha Rutt set a new world record when she crossed the 21-mile North Channel in five hours and three minutes. The notorious stretch of tricky water runs between Ireland and Scotland, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Irish Sea. Rutt is not only the first woman to complete the route, but she beat the time of previous record holder Iain McCarthy by more than 90 minutes. Rutt is a vocal advocate for mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder awareness. She’d initially planned to paddleboard across the English Channel, between England and France, but couldn’t due to Covid regulations.
4 TransPacific Wing Project
Chris Bertish | North Pacific Ocean
South African adventurer Chris Bertish is no stranger to impressive expeditions. In 2017, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a custom-made paddleboard, making the arduous 4,050-mile journey alone. This year, he refurbished his 16-foot-long craft—named ImpiFish—with a wing foil.
On July 17, Bertish became the first to wing foil 2,550 miles from California to Hawaii. For 48 days, he traveled solo and unsupported, using only wind and solar power, and traveling up to 12 hours a day.
His motivation for taking on the superhuman challenge? To bring attention to climate change issues and ocean conservation while raising funds for charities, including Conservation International and Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
“The first part of the trip was super intense due to extreme weather and coming into the Hawaiian islands with tropical storm Darby on my heels, making for some of the most extreme and scary ocean conditions I have ever experienced. But I don’t think it was as frightening as the amount of ocean pollution I saw out in the Pacific along the journey,” Bertish wrote on his blog after landing.
5 Double Dutch at the Yukon 1000
Ella Oesterholt and Janneke Smits | Yukon and Alaska
Ella Oesterholt and Janneke Smits, water women from the Netherlands, like to take on challenges to push their limits. At 1,000 miles long, the Yukon 1000 is the world’s longest paddling race and is open to canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
It was the perfect match.
Smits and Oesterholt, former competitive whitewater rafters, opted to paddleboard and became the first female paddleboarding team to complete the route. The Dutch pair averaged about 18 hours a day on their 17-foot, three-inch inflatable SUPs from Swedish brand Yster, following the historic route of the Klondike Gold Rush from Whitehorse, Yukon, all the way past Dawson City to the Dalton Highway bridge in Alaska.
“Hopefully, it will inspire other women to go out, try new things and not be scared of judgment in their pursuit of goals they would love to accomplish,” says Oesterholt.