National Geographic: People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year

Always partial to climbers & mountaineers, but couldn’t be more inspired by kayaker, Aleksander Doba. At age 67, this retired engineer kayaked SOLO across the Atlantic – from Portugal to Florida – paddling primarily at night (when temps were cooler), sleeping no more than 6 hours a day (in multiple installments).

“If 67 years young can do it, you can do it, too.” —Aleksander Doba

Absolutely anything is possible – Aleksander’s journey keeps me focused & charged.  Super inspired!


The votes have been counted—a record-setting 521,000 of them.  They’re a testament to the inspiring quests of all our 2015 Adventurers of the Year.  But there can only be one People’s Choice Adventurer of the Year, and that award goes to Aleksander Doba.


At 67 years old, the Polish adventurer made the longest open-water kayak crossing of the Atlantic in history. Using just his arm strength and considerable willpower, Doba paddled 7,700 miles in his 23-foot kayak, OLO, departing in October 2013 from Lisbon and arriving six months later in Florida. The retired mechanical engineer, now 68, is the only person to kayak across the Atlantic, continent-to-continent, alone, unassisted, and under his own power. He battled 30-foot waves and got entangled in the Bermuda Triangle. His engineering skills were tested time and time again.


Doba is not hanging up his paddle yet. In spring 2016, at 70 years old, he plans to attempt crossing the Atlantic Ocean solo by kayak again, this time starting from New York and finishing in Europe.


favourite 2 excerpts from his story:

When he was too far from shore to see any birds, Doba was surrounded instead by marine wildlife, from fish and dolphins to turtles, whales, and sharks.


Dozens of sharks checked on me, but one was ready to attack me, and I had to whack his head with the paddle really hard to make him leave,” Doba remembers. “On the warmer part of the Atlantic Ocean, flying fish were a big, unexpected attraction. When a few landed on my kayak, I didn’t have to eat my lyophilized food for dinner that night.”

This was not Doba’s first transatlantic crossing in OLO. In 2010, Doba spent 99 days of the First Transatlantic Kayak Expedition paddling 3,400 nautical miles (3,913 miles) across one of the narrowest points of the Atlantic, between Dakar, Senegal, and Acarau, Brazil.


“The First Transatlantic Kayak Expedition was to check myself and my kayak. The second trip was to ‘raise the bar,’” Doba says. “I have two sons and two granddaughters. I hope they will learn not to be afraid to dream, turn dreams into plans, and bring plans to reality. Then there is satisfaction of great achievements.”


Aleksander Doba, 2015 People's Choice

Aleksander Doba, 2015 People’s Choice









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