Big waves, giant squid feature in Bertish book

In his new book, All In!, Chris Bertish describes his 2017 solo transatlantic crossing on a customised stand-up paddle board.

Kommetjie author, renowned big wave surfer, ocean adventurer, multiple Guinness World Record holder, and public speaker Chris Bertish has launched a new book, All In!

Mr Bertish’s first book, Stoked, was printed in 2015 and has subsequently gone on to become an international best-seller, being reprinted more than five times and most recently translated into Italian.

His latest book, an inspiring story about grit, courage, passion and purpose, tells of his 2017 solo transatlantic crossing on a customised stand-up paddle board – a journey of 7500km from Morocco to Antigua.

“This is a story of my three months alone at sea and some of the gnarly adventures I went through to do what most people told me was completely impossible,” Mr Bertish said.

Some of the highlights include being targeted by a great white shark, towed by a giant sea squid, capsizing multiple times and surfing down 10m waves as challenging as anything he has faced in any Mavericks Big Wave Surfing Championships.

However, his most profound experience was connecting with the sea life that became part of his “pack” during the crossing.

“I am not able to put into words the sensation and experience of these beings lining up in formation with me every day and then travelling with me for a few hours before looking directly into my eyes and then going off to hunt. It was an experience I will treasure for the rest of my life,” he said.

The main motivation for his 93 days alone at sea, was to raise funds to feed less fortunate children through the Lunchbox Fund and to ensure that as many children as possible were able to get their surgery through Operation Smile.

According to Mr Bertish, just under R9 million was raised.

With a Gold Standard Sustainability Rating, his new book claims to be the most sustainably printed book in South Africa to date.

“We have printed the book using only Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainable paper in an environmentally sustainable printing facility,” said Mr Bertish.

He has also undertaken to plant a forest in the Platbos Reserve for every print run of the book, to offset the carbon footprint of the book being produced and making it carbon neutral.

Philanthropy is strong in the Bertish family: his brother Greg Bertish, who battled heart issues and founded The Little Optimist Trust, in April 2016, sailed an 8-foot children’s Optimist dinghy around the Cape of Storms to raise money for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

“Our dad, Keith Bertish, was definitely our biggest inspiration and encourager in life to make sure we made the most of everything. He made sure we all had a good love and respect for the ocean,” Mr Bertish said.

All In! is available online and at Exclusive Books and Wordsworth stores.