My name is Barry Hayes, and I am not rowing the Atlantic Ocean, I am also not rowing the Indian Ocean. And this decision has been fuelled, almost entirely, by the fact that it sounds genuinely horrible.
I have, however, been working closely with the amazing Brain Waves team for a little while, helping them with social media, towing boats, and generally being on hand if they need someone to relentlessly berate them. Through this process, I’ve established that they might actually not all be complete idiots. A generous endorsement indeed….but I’m altruistic like that.
In all honesty, I love these six people to death – they are the sort of people that I aspire to be. They are the sort of people I want our country’s kids to be inspired by. They are the sort of people that create positive change in our messed up planet, and they are the sort of people that are going to consume this enormous challenge and make people sit up and take note.
There isn’t a single person going on either row next year that doesn’t ‘wow’ me with what they have already achieved in life, never mind what they’re about to take on. Between them they have more adventure experience than most people on the planet, but that’s not the impressive bit; it’s their tenacity. Their ability to get the job done when the job doesn’t want to be done. Their ability to overcome incredible obstacles and keep on fighting. Whether that obstacle is a broken trailer, a lack of cashflow, or Parkinson’s Disease and PTSD.
Rowing any ocean is a challenge that so few people on the planet have attempted, let alone been successful at. So the key to being successful at it is your immediate reaction after being knocked down, your decisions when every chip you have is down, and not concerning yourself with anything that falls outside of the scope of absolute success. You need to become obsessed by the goal. The Brain Waves team understand that, they have put themselves through the mill to get this far, and they’re going to make this challenge one to remember.
That’s not to say they are not human: These people are warriors, heroes in my mind, but they have wives, husbands, families, careers, mortgages, bills to pay even when they’re in the middle of the ocean, they laugh, they cry, they make mistakes and they have good and bad days. So the sacrifices these guys, and their loved ones, are making in order to ensure success, is perhaps more impressive than the challenge itself.
And…whilst these brave souls are battling the elements, surviving on rehydrated rations and converted sea water, with sores on their backsides from the harsh rowing seats, I will be sat at home, in my comfy chair (too comfy, if anything). With a brew or maybe a beer, writing about their progress, passing on messages from you guys to them, and vice versa, using the content the teams send back try to convey the conditions they are dealing with. And I’ll be asking for your help, in the form of questions to ask the team, stories from friends to highlight how brilliant they really are, and together, as an adventure community, we’ll help create something extraordinary.