Adventurer. Solo Kayaker. Speaker.

More than 3000 people have climbed Mount Everest and over 100 have traveled to the Arctic, but no one has kayaked across the Southern Atlantic Ocean. In December 2021 Richard Kohler will attempt to kayak solo from Cape Town, South Africa to Salvador in Brazil, 7000km unsupported and on his own.

Click on the interactive map to read Richard’s updates.

Ocean X

This is a story about endurance, courage against the odds, and the indomitability of the human spirit. As the world shrinks and the opportunities for adventure diminish, it takes a man of unique vision to be the first person to paddle a kayak solo and unsupported, across the Southern Atlantic Ocean.

Last time Richard Kohler did something this crazy he got attacked by a shark, almost broke his back and smashed his boat in half, but he got there in the end. He became the first person to solo kayak along the entire length of the South African coastline (excluding the south Atlantic islands).

Ocean X is Richards dream and in December 2021 he will set off from Cape Town South Africa in an 8 meter paddling torpedo, 7000km across the Southern Atlantic Ocean to Salvador in Brazil, entirely unsupported whilst raising funds for his charity, Operation Smile.

“I’ve always been keen to do a solo trans-Atlantic (yacht) race but never got a chance when I was sailing,” says the former Shosholoza crew member turned paddler.  “Then I changed to kayaking but still had the urge to go across the ocean by myself.”

Richard intends surviving his crossing and not just to acquire bragging rights for the latest outlandish watersports adventure. He is motivated by raising funds for charity (Operation Smile) and partly to slake the kayaker’s innate lust to paddle across anything larger than a glass of water.

To get involved or to sponsor Richard’s Ocean X crossing contact:
Treble Group
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 021 685 3333
Sponsorship opportunities

Operation Smile has been operating for 35 years in 34 countries, with millions of children unable to secure the specialized and costly medical care. For every R6,000 raised another child can receive the operation.

Lauren Bright Operation Smile’s Country Manager said “it is an honour to have someone like Richard Kohler choose Operation Smile as his beneficiary and take up such an enormous challenge, to help raise funds for kids and adults born with a cleft lip and palate – to help change lives; one smile at a time.’

Please consider donating to Operation Smile through my Givengain fundraiser.

😀 TARGET: R500,000 (90 Smiles)
😀 RAISED: R111.736 (20 smiles)

Whether he’s in a kayak or standing on a stage, Richard Kohler inspires change.

Richard Kohler has been training for adventure his entire life. Having sailed the equivalent of three times around the world spanning 20 years as a professional yachtsman, Richard completed 11 ocean crossings on a yacht.

Richard has a boat load of insight about dedication, determination and the art of not giving up. In 2013 he became the first person to solo kayak along the length of the South African coastline (3300km in 70 days). Then in August 2019 he broke another record as the first person to SUP solo and unsupported the length of the Breede River (330km). In August 2020 while training for his Ocean X expedition, he set another record as the first and only person to kayak from the Breede River source to sea non stop, 38 hours of paddling.

Richard is passionate about changing the lives of those he meets and shares touching and thought-provoking stories about his many adventures as an ocean warrior and endurance sportsman.

“I encourage you to step off the beaten track and take an adventure of your own. You don’t have to kayak across the ocean or become a marathon champion – you’re capable of doing anything you set your mind to,” says Richard.


Walvis Bay

My first shower in 16 days was glorious. I was convinced that…


Day 15 The ocean has gone from a deep crystal blue colour to…

The morning I took the kids to the pool

An extract from Life on Osiyeza, by Richard Kohler These blogs…

Day 14: Taking a dip

Day 14 The forecast was for 20 to 25knt SE wind. Back at home…


Breede River Source to Sea Non Stop

On 17th July 2020 Richard completed a grueling weekend of training for Ocean X by paddling non-stop from the source of the Breede River to the sea, again setting another record, being the only person to achieve this. The heady task saw Richard paddling for 38 hours, clocking up 310 kms, and was achieved with no sleep for 47 hours while pushing on through the cold of night in the middle of winter.

Richard’s Source to Sea Breede River exploits also saw him double up on his goal of completing the Berg Ultra Paddle: a 240km virtual Berg River marathon in aid of Canoeing SA #canoeinf4covid food relief fund, which he achieved in a single day.


South African Coastline Solo Kayak

On 15th October 2012, Richard set off from the SA-Namibia border on an epic surf ski adventure, paddling the circumference of the South African coastline. The 3300 km journey ended at the Mozambique border making him the first person to kayak solo around the Southern African coastline.

Richard spent 70 days in the water averaging 50 km per day and endured some of the toughest challenges and sea conditions that the South African coast could throw at him. From being attacked by a shark, to breaking his surf ski and being burgled, Richard overcame all obstacles to complete the adventure of a lifetime.

Jumping fish
richard kohler rainbow
Arriving in St Francis Bay
NSRI Mossel Bay

Breede River Source to Sea solo SUP

On the 3rd August 2019 Richard Set off on a solo unsupported SUP paddle of the Breede River from the source to the sea. He completed 330 km in 5 days averaging over 60 km per day in winter conditions, the start of which would be his ambition to do an ocean crossing in a kayak.


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