She’s Baaaaack! Freya Hoffmeister, that is, the mega paddler who, after circumnavigating Australia and South America, recently announced plans to circumnavigate the entire North American continent by sea kayak. Whoa….
The German adventurer will attempt the approximately 30,000-mile journey over the next eight to ten years, paddling in stages of three to five months. She will travel alone and self-supported most of the time, as she has in other expeditions.
Hoffmeister is one of the most bad-ass expedition/distance paddlers in history, best known for her 2009 circumnavigation of Australia and another of South America, a 15,828-mile, four-year circuit she finished in 2015. Oh yeah, she’s also sea kayaked around Iceland and the South Island of New Zealand’s South Island.
She knocked off the 43-day, 1,500-mile Ireland leg last summer as a sort of test. She wanted to see if she still had it in her for another big expedition. Spoiler alert: she does, and plans to start her next North American endeavor in 2017. The route will include navigating the Northwest Passage, crossing Hudson Bay and paddling through the Panama Canal, while tracing the coastline of 10 countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico and seven Central American nations.
In 2015, paddling an 18-foot expedition kayak by Sweden’s Point 65, Hoffmeister made history by completing the first–ever solo circumnavigation of South America, taking her final strokes into Buenos Aires, Argentina, on Friday, May 1, finishing right where she started nearly four years earlier.
In 2009, she completed her 9,400-mile circumnavigation of Australia in 332 days (245 paddling days), ending one of the most challenging sea kayaking trips in the world. She was the first woman to ever complete the journey and only the second person to do so since friend and mentor Paul Caffyn completed it in 1982.