On February 19, 2023, kayaker Richard Kohler landed on the shore of Salvador, Brazil. Kohler completed a more than 4,000-mile, solo, unsupported kayak crossing of the South Atlantic Ocean in two months.
“It’s been a dream of mine to cross an ocean alone. Paddling a kayak across the ocean has been a ten-year dream and the last five years of planning and execution. I am very relieved that I had what it takes for an adventure like this but also very grateful that it has come to an end,” Kohler said upon his arrival in Salvador, according to a press release on his website.
The South African began his expedition called Ocean X on December 18, 2022, from Granger Bay Harbour. Just 63 days later, he landed on the sandy beach of Porto Praia do Porto da Barra in Salvador, just inside the mouth of the Bay of All Saints.
These sorts of endeavors are nothing new to Kohler. The paddler, who turned 53 during his crossing was the first known person to kayak solo along the entire 3300 km South African coast. As well as the first person to solo SUP the length of the Breede River in South Africa. Kohler has also sailed the equivalent of three times around the world as a professional yachtsman.
Kohler’s unsupported kayak crossing of the South Atlantic was more than just for the record books. The kayaker also used the expedition as a fundraiser for Operation Smile, an organization operating in 34 countries to assist millions of children in receiving costly medical care. Kohler’s crossing raised 600,000 South African Rand for the organization.
“The crowning glory must be the phenomenal success of the fund raising for Operation Smile South Africa. We have raised over half a million Rand ensuring that more than a hundred children will receive corrective cleft surgery,” Kohler also stated in the press release on his site.
“The experience is one that I will cherish for the rest of my days, but more importantly I hope that my story has inspired others to dream and to act on their dreams. I would like to thank all my sponsors, supporters, followers, donators, my exceptional shore team and my family for getting me across the ocean.”