Spanish Paddleboarder Completes California to Hawaii Crossing

A Spanish paddleboarder by the name of Antonio de la Rosa paddled his way into the history books this past weekend by becoming the first person to complete the crossing from California to Hawaii on a SUP board. De la Rosa completed the journey, which covered more than 2900 miles (4667 km), by arriving at the Waikiki Yacht Club after spending 77 days at sea, encounter whales and other major sea life along the way.

The journey began in San Francisco back on June 4 with de la Rosa setting out aboard a 24-foot (7.3 meter), custom built stand-up paddleboard that doesn’t look anything like the SUP boards we have in our garages. In addition to boasting plenty of additional length, necessary for stability on the open ocean, the board also had space for storing the Spaniard’s gear, food, and supplies. It even has a small living space where he could climb inside at night to rest.

Antonio described the undertaking as a journey of “absolute loneliness and self-sufficiency”, having spent more than two and a half months alone out on the water. Still, the final day seems to have been his most difficult of all. On the open water he didn’t have to worry about running into anything, only concentrating on maintaining a proper course to the finish line. But once he arrived in Hawaii, de la Rosa had to work hard to avoid high winds and heavy surf pushing his board onto the rocky shores, prematurely ending the voyage so close to the end. The Spanish adventurer ended up staying up for more than 24 hours straight as he struggled to maintain control and finish the crossing. Fortunately, he was able to do just that, arriving at the Yacht Club on Sunday.

The SUP crossing wasn’t just about the adventure as Antonio had other motives as well. His goal was to help raise awareness of the plights that face our planet’s oceans too. To that end, the side of his boat is emblazoned with the words “SAVE the OCEAN” and “NO plastics, NO nets, RECYCLE.” His hope is to inspire others to start caring for the oceans and finding ways to clean them up before it’s too late.

This isn’t de la Rosa’s first aquatic adventure. In addition to becoming the first person to SUP from California to Hawaii, he has also sailed solo across the Atlantic and has canoed across all eight of the Canary Islands too, all of which are impressive endeavors to say the least. Congrats to him on wrapping up this latest expedition. 77 days alone at sea can’t be easy.

Kraig Becker