Isaac Giesen becomes first Kiwi to row solo across the Atlantic

Isaac Giesen has become the first Kiwi to solo row across the Atlantic Ocean.
Isaac Giesen has become the first Kiwi to solo row across the Atlantic Ocean. Photo credit: Atlantic Campaigns

Christchurch man Isaac Giesen has become the first Kiwi to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean - and it was all for a good cause.

Mr Giesen set off from the Canary Islands, Spain, in December and touched down in Antigua Thursday morning (local time).  

Taking part in the 2018 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic, Mr Giesen traversed over 3000 nautical miles between the two islands in a journey that is considered one of the world's most intense physical challenges. 

Behind the grit and determination to conquer the gruelling row was his aim to raise  $1 million for depression and suicide awareness in New Zealand and Australia, after losing his aunt and two close friends to suicide. 

The official challenge page was live on Facebook on Thursday night, broadcasting Mr Giesen's final strokes into Antigua as he made New Zealand history. 

Once he hit land he was greeted with applause and hugs, with people congratulating him on his amazing feat. 

Mr Giesen said he was feeling "good but overwhelmed" about his achievement. 

"A wee bit sad from finishing - I kind of didn't want it to end. But quite emotional as well at the same time, just what I accomplished and what I did it for."

In total, he spent 70 days, 19 hours and 37 minutes at sea.

New Zealand rowers Rob Hamill and the late Phil Stubbs won the first trans-Atlantic Rowing Challenge in 1997.

So far, Mr Giesen has raised almost $50,000 for mental health and depression.

Find out more about his cause at The Blue Rower.

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