Coast duo to row 5000km across Atlantic Ocean

THIS December, two Sunshine Coast men will be rowing 5000km across the North Atlantic Ocean from La Gomera in the Canary Islands to Antigua in the Caribbean as part of the 2020 Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

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The Atlantic Challenge is a unique event that pits man-power of competitors against the might of ocean currents, tumultuous waves and extreme weather.

It will see Sippy Down’s George Hugheston-Roberts and Mooloolaba’s Matt Mountain row 2 hours on, 2 hours off, 24 hours a day for up to 60 days to complete the journey.

“It’s a giant challenge but we both love adventure and are training hard so we are ready for the race starting in December this year,” George said.

George, 27, a productional dive instructor at Sunreef Mooloolaba, said while the pair were close friends, their reasons to take on the challenge were very different.

For Matt, 26, who grew up in Dalby and works in property development, the Challenge presents a chance to extend himself.

“I moved to the Sunshine Coast during high school and have always loved adventure and the chance to challenge myself,” Matt said.

“In 2017, I and 19 other mates paddled 20km on stand-up paddleboards to raise money for the Movember Foundation and now the Atlantic Challenge will mean I can challenge myself even more!”

For George, who grew up in the UK, the Challenge is about continuing a family legacy.

“I grew up near the Coast and have always loved marine environments, but my motivation came from reading about my late Great Uncle, Major William Ellery-Anderson MC, who after a career in the Special Forces, lead a group of researchers and explorers in Antarctica,” George said.

“From him, I have learnt that with a well-trained and planned expedition, you can face and overcome many challenges and I want to one day follow in his footsteps, but not before Matt and I take on the Atlantic ocean!

“The Atlantic Challenge is a huge adventure and Matt and I are very excited and training hard to prepare for it.”

George and Matt, said though it wasn’t just countless hours of training ahead of them.

“We also have to raise funds to build our vessel and register for the Challenge and we can’t do it on our own so we are seeking support from the Sunshine Coast community,” George said.

George and Matt said they need to more than $175,000 to fund the purpose-built rowboat, Challenge entry fees and to start raising funds and to raise awareness for ocean conservation. 

“We are looking for commercial sponsors and also asking for community members to support us in any way they can,” George said.

To find out more visit their website – www.aquaatlanticaustralia.com – and follow them on Facebook @aquaatlantic2020 – and Instagram @aquaatlantic.

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