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Isaac Giesen becomes the first New Zealander to row the Atlantic solo

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Twenty-six year old Isaac Giesen has become the first New Zealander to row the Atlantic solo, the first person from the Southern Hemisphere to row the Atlantic twice in 12 months and the youngest person to have completed that feat

Rowing under the name The Blue Rower, Giesen set out from the Canary Islands on December 12 and finished 2600 nautical miles (4815kms) away in Antigua (West Indies) 71 days later at approximately midnight NZT Thursday.

Last year he rowed the Atlantic as part of a team.

Eleven kilograms lighter at 91kgs, Giesen immediately set about replacing some of the lost weight with a big feed of chicken wings.

His motivation for the race is to raise money and awareness for depression (see notes below).


-He is 26 years old.

-From Christchurch, New Zealand.

-Degree in Viticulture and Wine making.

-RYA Yachtmasters for sail and motor.

-RYA Yachtmaster Ocean Theory.

-Volunteer surf life guard since age 14.

-Freelance skipper.


"My motivation for the race and for raising money and awareness for depression is for my aunty who passed when I was 12 years old to suicide, as well as another two friends from the same cause when I was 19. I want to do it for these people above who had no voice to speak out and to create awareness and more understanding about mental health. I want to help educate people about the pain it creates  and to get people to start listening. Personally I want the challenge of being the first kiwi to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean."

The Race

-Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge.

-Starts in San Sebastian in La Gomera, Carnary Islands and finishes in Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua.

-The race is 4815 Kms in total.

-One or two support vessels are available for all boats, as well as other boats available for support.

-Twenty seven boats have entered the race in 2018 from solo, doubles, trios and fours.

-This race is known as one of the toughest challenges on earth. Made more difficult by raging seas, howling winds, sharks, blisters and salt rashes, sunstroke and sleep deprivation, there is little wonder that a mere 500 people have completed it, whilst almost ten times that number have been to the summit of Mount Everest and nearly twice the number have been into space.


The Charities

The charities I have chosen are because they are the most relevant to the personal impact that has been cause by depression on others as well as the impact on those around me. I feel that if my aunty and two friends were able to be helped by these charities, they would still be with us today and I believe these charities, with our support have a great chance of helping people with depression in future.

-Victim Support

-Bravehearts Australia - looking to expand to NZ

-Black Dog Institute

-Diagnosis on depression and bipolar


-Raise over $1,000,000 NZD for charity

-Be the first kiwi solo across the Atlantic and to complete two crossings in one year

-Raise awareness for mental health

-Have a beer on the other side

-Have fun doing the whole thing - rowing and the other stuff I need to do

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