Spaniard Completes Sup Crossing of the Pacific

De La Rosa, delivering on his goal.

Feel good about your hour-long sup outing? That’s paddling peanuts compared to Spanish adventurer Antonio De La Rosa, who recently completed the world’s first sup crossing from San Francisco to Oahu, Hawaii.

The 50-year-old paddler completed the crossing in 77 days, covering 2,900 miles completely self-supported and unassisted. He arrived at the Waikiki Yacht Club in Honolulu at 8:30 a.m., after launching June 9 from San Francisco.

Expected to make it into the Guinness record books, De La Rosa’s solo crossing from the mainland to Hawaii marks the first successful paddle-powered crossing in over three decades. (San Diego’s Ed Gillet did so in a sea kayak in 1987, as recounted by Dave Shively in the recently released book, The Pacific Alone.)

De La Rosa, heading out under the San Francisco Bridge. (Photo courtesy Galen Licht)

De La Rosa’s sup was far from straight off the shelf. He paddled a custom 24-foot-long sup-type craft, with a forward cabin to sleep in and hold gear and food, as well as electronics, navigation and communication devices. The craft also had a 4-foot-long dagger board to keep it from flipping.

Lest you think you might be able to mimic his feat, think again. De La Rosa — a former firefighter-turned-triathlete-turned adventurer — is a stud, plain and simple.

In 2014, rowing with no assistance, he crossed the Atlantic Ocean, rowing 4700 kilometers in 64 days —with no previous experience. In 2015, he paddled from Madrid’s Tagus River to Lisbon, covering  888 kilometers in 19 days. In 2016, he ventured to the Arctic, paddling the Arctic Circle on a sup, covering 739.7 kilometers in 26 days. And in  2017, he tackled the Iberian Peninsula on a sup, traversing 3,500 kilometers in a whopping 141 days.

To him, it’s all in a day’s work…an sufferfest.

“If there is something that defines me, it’s the word energy, which I learned to channel through sports since I was a child,” he writes on his website. “My restless spirit doesn’t allow me to stay in one place, it made me an elite competitor, adventurous and an extreme sports practitioner.”


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