On the 12th December 2019, we will be embarking on a 4,800 km row across the Atlantic Ocean to help raise money and awareness for ocean conservation charities including Surfrider Foundation Australia. Ed Wilson and Jon Merotra, based in Sydney, will be joined by Ewan Bell and James Protherough who are based in the UK, to compete against 30 other teams from around the world. They are aiming to complete the epic expedition in 40 days or less, rowing in pairs with alternating shifts of 2 hours rowing, followed by 2 hours rest - for the entire duration of the 40-day race.
“The race is known as ‘The World's Toughest Row’ as the teams brave the elements such as hurricane strength winds and 50ft swells. As it stands, more people have been into space than have rowed the Atlantic” said Ed Wilson. “The added physical strain of exhaustion, sleep deprivation and possible hallucination tests the extremes of teamwork and humankind. By undertaking such an enormous challenge, our aim is to meaningfully support the amazing work our charities are doing and help turn the tide on plastic pollution.”
“It’s quite amazing the commitment the team are undertaking to shine a light the global plastic pollution epidemic and the devastating impact it's having on the health of our oceans and us” said Jude Furniss, Manager of the Manly branch of Surfrider Foundation Australia. “There is no doubt this global problem requires decisive government legislation and strong product stewardship but there are also many solutions available to us locally that require every one of us to act on now.”
To take the challenge one step further, the team have also been working in collaboration with a US based company called Smartfin, to adapt their innovative surfboard fin for use on their ocean rowing boat.
“Smartfin is a surfboard fin with oceanographic sensors, it is designed to collect data for researchers/scientists,” said Kat Hammond from Smartfin. “We also use Smartfin as a tool to engage communities in conversation about climate change and the impact it has on the oceans.”
This will be the first time this type of data has been collected across an entire ocean by an ocean rowing boat, and the team hope it can make a significant contribution to our understanding of the oceans and shorelines.
So far, the team has managed to attract an incredible range of corporate sponsors, including global brands such as Diageo, The Trade Desk and Fetch, and a range of environmentally focused brands such as ECoffee Cup. The team is also welcoming donations of any size to assist them with their mission.