Big wave rider Chris Bertish prepares for Mavericks, Nelscott Reef and SUP World Tour

September 10, 2009 | Surfing

Chris Bertish at Dungeons

South African Chris Bertish, renowned for conquering many of the world’s most challenging big waves, has been invited to compete in three prestigious international big-wave surfing events including the inaugural edition of the of the Stand Up World Tour which will crown the first Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) World Champion later this year.

Invitations to the Mavericks Surf Contest in California, the Nelscott Reef Paddle-in Classic in Oregon and the Stand Up World Tour event at Makaha in Hawaii are recognition for the 35-year-old Capetonian’s pioneering exploits in huge surf around the globe over the past decade.

“I’m truly honoured to be invited to these events where only athletes who have proven themselves in the world’s heaviest waves make the cut,” Bertish said. “I love surfing big waves, it's my passion, and to be representing South Africa amongst the elite 24 invitee’s from around the globe at Mavericks, the 12 at Nelscott Reef and to be seeded into the top 16 in the world for the first ever SUP World Champs is a huge honour and privilege.”

Bertish’s string of ground-breaking feats include becoming the first surfer to paddle into and ride waves at the primarily tow-in venues of Jaws (Maui, Hawaii), Ghost Trees (California) and the Cribber (Cornwall, England) while at home he introduced Stand Up Paddleboarding at the daunting Dungeons break near Hout Bay and Whale Rock in Table Bay along with being the first to tow-in at Seal Island in False Bay, statistically the most densely populated Great White shark venue in the world.

His accomplishments are not limited to daredevil stunts in mountainous seas as in 2001 he was the first, and to date only, South African surfer to win the Monster Paddle division of the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards, the Oscars of big wave surfing. And he has reached the final of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event at Dungeons, finishing third in 2006, amongst other notable local and international results and award nominations.

A former Sales & Promotions Manager for Billabong SA, Brand manager for Gul Wetsuits in the UK and for multi-national apparel and wetsuit giant O’Neill in SA, Bertish boasts an impressive marketing CV. In 2007 he introduced the O’Neill Raw Courage Awards which focus on paddling into and riding the biggest waves within the borders of South Africa and recognise and credit the achievements of the country’s rapidly growing brigade of big wave chargers.

Now a brand ambassador and agent for O’Neill and new media marketer for True Blue Surf Travel, Bertish will be conducting various fund-raising activities to assist in covering the considerable costs of his planned two-month campaign to attend these events in California and Hawaii at the end of the year.

“After almost a decade of investing huge amounts of my time, energy and my personal finances, I have now reached the point where I have received invitations to this trio of highly prestigious International events. With a start-up business and the current tight financial situation I need further backing and support to be able to participate in these events,” Bertish explains.

The savvy marketer has already created his own personal blog & Facebook account and will be posting a weekly journal on two high profile South African websites where the public will be able to follow his activities in addition to the media generated from competing in the events. He will also be posting video clips on various new-media platforms, including never before seen footage of riding huge waves taken from a Go Pro camera mounted on his surfboard.

Watch the media for further news of this exceptional athlete’s exploits along with details of the fund-raising functions that will provide unique opportunities to get up close and personal with both Chris and the global big wave scene.

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