Canoeing South Africa Media Release

 No: CSA2143

1 Dec 2021

 Embargo : None

Written by: Dave Macleod

Solo paddler set to paddle a surfski to Brazil

Cape Town -Intrepid adventurer Richard Kohler is just days away from leaving Cape Town for a solo surfski paddle across the Southern Atlantic to Salvador in Brazil, aiming to become the first person to complete the 7000 mile journey alone and unsupported.

52 year old Kohler will be paddling a specially designed surfski named "Osiyeza", after the the Johnny Clegg song "The Crossing", aiming to raise money and awareness for the Operation Smile charity.

Kohler's unique eight metre long craft has been modelled around a traditional surfski that he paddles frequently, modified to accommodate a hatch that will house his essentials and allow him to sleep. His paddles are substantially longer than traditional surfski paddles to enable him to reach over the unusually wide ski.

He plans on paddling around fifteen hours a day, aiming to cover 100 kilometres daily, aiming to take between seventy and ninety days to reach Salvador, but hoping that it could take sixty days or less if all the conditions work in his favour.

"I am hoping for two months of downwind paddling bliss!" he said.

Kohler is finishing up the last of the paperwork that needs to be done, including setting up his emergency beacon communication system to make sure he can reach out for help if he runs into trouble.

"For every possible problem I have a plan A, plan B and and plan C," he said adding that the one issue that might threaten his record bid would be the failure of the fresh water making machine.

"Even then I will be able to harvest rain water and make a plan. Running out of water is a potential show stopper.

Fully loaded his enlarged surfski will weight 450 kilograms, and can cruise at around 6-7 kilometres per hour.

He will carry 90kgs of food on board and plans a diet of dried 'space food' supplemented with fats from olive oil, coconut oil, MTC oil and macadamia oil. "In effect, an athlete Keto diet," says Kohler.

He won't be relying on catching fish to eat, though he concedes that he will be dragging a fishing line from his boat. "Mostly as a form of entertainment and to deal with the boredom."

Having undertaken similar adventures before, including becoming the first person to paddle the entire length of the South African coastline in a surfski, he has a plan to deal with the physical demands of the adventure.

"Like ultra-paddler adventurers like Freya Hofmeister I like to go into the journey undercooked and get fitter as I go along.

"I accept that there is nothing you can do about the muscle pains, the blisters and the chafing. You just have to deal with it. Mentally you tend to find the first ten days are pretty miserable and then you adapt."

As a seasoned ocean sailor and paddler he is ready for any conditions that he might encounter in the Southern Atlantic.

The bank of solar panels on the back deck of his ski will provide a massive 460 watts of power to run his equipment, powering his cooking and communication gear.

"I have a fantastic comms set-up and onboard wi-fi." he said "But with data via satellite costing around R10 000 a gig, I have to be sensible!"

Kohler is waiting for optimal weather to set off on his trip, which in all likelihood will be around mid-December.

Donations to Operation Smile:

Follow Richard Kohlerís Ocean X adventure:

More details can be found at


Photo Caption Photographer Click to download the hi-res pic
Canoeing South Africa Logo (GIF).  

Richard Kohler and his customised surfski Osiyeza, preparing for his solo paddle across the Southern Atlantic Ocean from Cape town to Salvador in Brazil. Supplied/
Gameplan Media

Conditions of usage of photographs: All photographs supplied and hyperlinked herewith may be used free of charge, with full credit to the photographer and agency as provided. The photographs may not be modified or retouched in any way, but may be cropped to suit the layout requirements of the publications. The photographs provided may be used exclusively for editorial purposes, and may be reprinted in any newspaper, magazine, television programme or on any website. These photographs may not be used for any commercial or promotional purpose, including but not limited to posters, advertisements, commercials, promotional email correspondence, point-of-sale material or any retail promotion. Should such usage be desired, please contact us at the details below.
Is this of no value to you?
This media release is intended for use by media professionals covering this specific activity or sport. Should this release not be relevant you, please advise us immediately and we will be glad to remove your name from this particular database. It would be useful to us if you could advise us which subjects you would like to continue receiving releases on.
For any further information, or if you cannot access the images, please contact:
Gameplan Media
(031) 764 3017