Cape Town - Avid adventurer and extreme sports fanatic Richard Kohler is preparing to make a daring Southern Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town to Salvador in Brazil, on a specially designed kayak.
After months of training and preparation, 52-year-old Kohler is about to become the first person to attempt to paddle his custom kayak across the Southern Atlantic, almost 7 000 km across the ocean unsupported.
While he is no stranger to extreme adventures, having been the first and only person to paddle solo the entire circumference of the South African coastline in 2012, Kohler has been training for his next odyssey, at a time when self-isolation is the norm.
“Sailing has always been in my blood, I started my journey at the age of six to later sailing at an international level, including sailing in the 2007 Americas Cup campaign for South Africa aboard the Shosholoza.”
“As the world shrinks and the opportunities for adventure diminish, it takes a man of unique vision to do something like this. This is about endurance, courage against the odds, and the indomitability of the human spirit,” said Kohler.
Kohler’s kayak, Osiyeza, named after South African music legend, Johnny Clegg song, The Crossing, will be his home for the 60 to 80-day paddle. Osiyeza is a specially constructed kayak, made out of carbon fibre, making it lighter and easier to manoeuvre.
“The design brief was to keep it as close to a traditional Surfski but that it should include a sleeping area that can protect me from the uncompromising elements typical of being out at sea.
“The kayak is 8m long and less than 1 metre at its maximum width. Considering an average shoulder width is around 50cm, it does not leave much room on the inside for me and my gear,” he said.
Kohler will be leaving from Granger Bay in Cape Town between December 1 and December 10, a period that might have the most suitable weather window for his departure.
Kohler’s month-long Atlantic crossing will be sponsored by ALTSA, SMD Africa Marine, Seaport Supply, Aerontec, Powersol, Sicomin, Highbury Media, Further Composites, Phil Southwell Designs, Victron Energy SA, Solbian, AST Group, McMurdo, Link Engineering, Cableman, Forever Fresh, Buttanut, Carb Smart, Revive.
ALTSA CEO Gerhard Moolman said: “From one adventurer to another, I could identify with Richard’s dream. We are proud to be a presenting partner and help in any way to support Richard’s dream.”
Kohler’s great adventure will also act as a fundraiser for Operation Smile.
For every R6 000, he’ll raise, one child will receive an operation. His goal for this trip is to raise over R100 000 for Operation Smile.
Operation Smile Country Manager Lauren Bright said: “It is an honour to have someone like Richard Kohler choose Operation Smile as his beneficiary and take up such an enormous challenge, to help raise funds for kids and adults born with a cleft lip and palate, to help change lives; one smile at a time.”