Man Paddles 2,900 Miles from California to Hawaii to Raise Awareness of Ocean Pollution

A man successfully paddled more than 2,900 miles from California to Hawaii on Saturday, raising awareness about plastic pollution in the ocean.

It took Antonio de la Rosa 76 days to complete the 2,951-mile journey from San Francisco to Honolulu on his stand-up paddleboard, which was outfitted with food, water desalinator and solar panels to power his GPS and communications equipment.

The craft also had a sleeping area, but De la Rosa told CNN he rarely used it.

The fully-loaded rig, which resembled a tiny submarine, weighed more than 1,500 pounds and had no motor. "My arms and my legs are my motor," said De la Rosa, who runs an adventure tourism company in Spain.

He documented his journey over Facebook Live, paddling for eight to ten hours a day. On good days, he said, he covered 40 to 50 miles—sometimes he barely made it ten.

Antonio de la Rosa
Antonio de la Rosa paddled more than 2,900 miles from the coast of California to Honolulu, Hawaii. Antonio de la Rosa

Though he occasionally fished, he survived mostly on a diet of dehydrated food and says he lost about 25 pounds over the course of the trip. He celebrated his 50th birthday with a small cookie.

This isn't De la Rosa's first extreme ocean adventure: In 2014, he crossed the Atlantic by himself in a rowboat and, in 2016, paddled through the Arctic Circle.

He claims he is the first person to complete this particular journey but insists his goal was more to raise awareness of marine plastic pollution than setting any record.

DÍA 77 - AHORA SÍ QUE EN WAIKIKI

DÍA 77 Ahora sí, pie a tierra en #Waikiki después de 76 días , 5 horas y 22 minutos de travesía oceánica en SUP desde San Francisco a #Hawaii, 4750 km de absoluta Soledad y autosuficiencia. Las últimas 24 horas fueron de preocupación e incertidumbre, un fuerte viento que me sorprendió cruzando El canal de navegación entre #Molokai y #Oahu, acercándome peligrosamente y en la noche a la zona rocosa de Koko Head. Después una travesía muy rápida también entre #Koko y #Diamond que me colocó en este lugar con 4 horas sobre el mejor horario establecido, con lo cual tuve que tirar el ancla de capa y esperar 4 horas ya que había quedado allí con la gente de TV para que me grabaran al amanecer. Después llegaba la parte final que me preocupaba de manera especial, remar desde Diamond hasta El Puerto de #Waikiki con viento lateral y conseguir pisar tierra firme por mis propios medios. Esto me obligó a remar muy próximo a la costa, con lo que estuve a punto de que me rompiera alguna ola encima... Casi sin darme cuenta. Ahora sí, pisar tierra, que de momento se me mueve más que el Océano, recibir como bonita tradición unos ley en el cuello, los bonitos collares de respeto y bienvenida de flores y semillas, poder conversar face to face por primera vez tras dos meses y medio, y como no, las primeras cervezas fresquitas, ¿tal vez por eso se mueve la tierra? Je, Je. Gracias una vez más por aguantarme todo este tiempo, #yaestoyenhawaii. #pacificsupchallenge2019 CONCLUIDO con éxito. #OceanDefender #roadtohawaiiMeridiano Raid Leatherman El Transistor Sea to Summit Iberia Sea Trek Kayak and SUP Center ocean52 Galletas Gullón Rimspolish S.L. Sps Stand Up Paddle Kundaka Sinergia Racing Group SLU Teva Posovisual 4050Adventure Ciclo Lodge - El Nevero Olight España Katadyn Outdoors Satlink

Posted by Antonio de la Rosa on Sunday, August 25, 2019

Every day of his trip, De la Rosa says, he saw plastic debris float by—including nets and fishing line, major components of the Great Pacific garbage patch, two massive collections of floating debris that stretch across more than half a million square miles of the Pacific Rim.

Much of the patch is comprised of microscopic particles, but more than 79,000 pounds of plastic fishing gear, discarded by commercial fishers, has ended up caught up in its vortex, according to National Geographic. Plastics, in particular, are pulled into the patch because they break down so slowly.

Long-distance swimmer Bren Lecomte is currently 76 days into a 80-day swim through the patch, documenting what he's finds along the way.

Man Paddles 2,900 Miles from California to Hawaii to Raise Awareness of Ocean Pollution | News