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California ocean adventurer to attempt solo kayak voyage to Hawaii

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 4:49 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - From the driver’s seat of his high-tech kayak, ocean enthusiast Cyril Derreumaux trains diligently for his biggest adventure yet: a solo kayak trip across the Pacific.

The Northern California resident is an experienced waterman.

“I’m an avid paddler, outrigger paddler, kayaker and surfski paddler. I love the water,” he said.

If successful, Derreumaux will be only the second person to kayak from California to Hawaii. Ed Gillett did it in in 1987. Derreumaux hopes to cover the 2,100 nautical miles in 70 days.

“The course is going to be much like a ‘J’ shaped course. I’m going to be drifting south until I catch the tradewinds,” he said.

Derreumaux wanted to do it last year, but COVID delayed delivery of his 23-foot-long, 400-pound kayak that was custom built in England. When he finally got it, he began practicing.

“I took three days at a time, sleeping in the kayak, and using all the equipment,” he said.

He named his vessel Valentine.

It has a cabin for sleeping and solar panels that power a satellite phone, GPS and other gear. But to move it in the water he’ll use only his body, paddling and working a set of foot pedals.

“You pedal back and forth, and there’s flippers under. It’s very efficient,” he said.

In 2016, Derreumaux was on a four-person team that rowed across the Pacific and set a Guinness World Record. He’s anxious to repeat the experience, but this time he’ll be all alone in the middle of the deep blue sea.

“The sun rises are amazing. The sunsets are amazing,” he said.

Derreumaux, 44, owns a company that sells high-performance paddling gear. He was born in France and speaks five languages.

“I consider myself a citizen of the world. I’ve traveled to many countries,” he said.

Derreumaux will pack about 200 pounds of food. A desalinator unit will provide him with drinking water, and a land-based support team will help with navigation and other information.

Other than that, he’s on his own.

“This is something you cannot beat. You cannot explain. You have to live it,” he said.

On May 30, he will take off from under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, aim his kayak for Hawaii and start paddling. You can track his Pacific crossing at SoloKayaktoHawaii.com.

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