Extreme Adventurer Prepares Final Preparations for California to Hawaii Kayaking Trip
Cyril Demmereaux is a man who has spent a large part of his 44 years looking for adventure. A longtime traveler and ultra-endurance athlete, his accomplishments extend far beyond the typical weekend warrior.
The first great adventure of Cyril, born in France, took place at 25 when he took a backpack and traveled around the world. Since then he has lived in France, Spain, England, Italy, Argentina, Brazil and settled in the United States for 14 years after becoming a United States citizen. Along the way, he is fluent in 5 languages and is passionate about extreme outdoor challenges.
His summary of accomplishments is indeed impressive. Cyril finished the Catalina Outrigger Challenge 4 times, the last has completed the 32 mile race in 5 hours. He also competed in the 43-mile Molokai Hoe Outrigger Championships in Hawaii four times. In 2012 he completed the Quest for the Yukon River in Canada – a 440 mile canoe race which he completed in 45 hours, and in 2014 he completed the Cal100, a 100 mile canoe race in California in 12 hours. Most recently, Cyril won a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for rowing from Monterey, California to Honolulu, Hawaii with a international team of four, covering the 2,400 miles in 39 days without support or assistance.
But that’s nothing compared to what Cyril does next.
Cyril now prepares his custom kayak and leaves Sausalito completely alone for a solo, unassisted, completely self-sufficient 2,400 mile trip across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii. It will pass under the Golden Gate Bridge early Sunday morning, May 30, 2021, and plans to land in Waikiki, Hawaii 70 days later, traveling between 40 and 60 miles across the ocean each day.
He’ll pack 200 pounds of food in his 23-foot kayak – mostly freeze-dried meals, high-protein smoothies, and energy bars – with the goal of consuming 6,000 calories per day (about 2,000 calories less than he’ll actually need. – he plans to lose about 25 pounds during the trip). An onboard desalination unit will provide her with fresh drinking water, and solar panels mounted on the top of the kayak will charge lithium batteries to keep all of her electronics powered. A cache of GPS units, VHF radios, cameras, chargers and a satellite phone will keep him on track and in touch with his friends and family back home.
“I have this phone and the price is not cheap. It’s about a dollar a minute, but I calculated about 10 minutes a day, so if I don’t speak for a day, then the next day I have 20 minutes, ”explained Cyril.
Cyril can also upload photos and videos, if conditions cooperate.
“It takes about an hour to send a one-minute low-definition video, so it must be clear like that. If it’s cloudy, it’s going to take two, three hours, and with my boat, it’s quite difficult to stay still for two hours. I have to hold (the antenna) towards the satellites, otherwise I lose the connection. It’s not easy, I’ll try to send as many as I can. “
Two iPhones filled with podcasts, e-books, music, and movies will also help break boredom. ‘I bring all the seasons of’Seinfeld», Cyril told us.
Apart from the essential supplies on board necessary to support him, Cyril will be completely alone, at the mercy of the Pacific. The hardest part, he says, will be the start of the journey.
“The start will certainly be the most difficult, because I could get seasick. I usually get seasick for three, four days, even though I put on the patch (Scopolamine). I have to get used to the detention and get used to different conditions in which I have not trained. I have to get used to sleeping on board and waking up every hour so there is a lack of sleep. There is going to be a change in food and diet. “
Cyril has the advantage of experience when it comes to living on the water for weeks on end, but it’s not just the physical conditioning that comes into play.
“Mentally, you have to be strong. A big challenge for me is to be able to be alone, because I like to share things. As if you see a sunset, with your loved one, it’s so beautiful, you share it. Being alone, I don’t like it that much, so for me it’s going to be so hard to be alone on the boat.
Cyril chose this time of year largely because of the typical weather and sea conditions from May to August.
“The days are longer, so you can paddle longer, but the winds are favorable. The first 350 miles, it’s going to push me south to the south, Mexico, but as I head west the wind shifts and I catch the trade winds. These are favorable, it will push me to Hawaii.
Cyril’s bespoke sea kayak (named “Valentine” after his sister) was specially designed for this trip. The boat weighs around 400 pounds (not counting over 300 pounds of provisions) and is constructed from natural cork with two layers of carbon fiber on it. She was hand built by English boat builders Rob Feloy and Ginge Murphy, and has a small cabin with a watertight door he can sneak into to sleep and weather any storms he encounters. The boat will straighten up if it capsizes.
Cyril will propel himself with an 87 inch long paddle as well as a pair of special hull mounted fins powered by pedals. This setup will not only help him propel him more efficiently, but it will also help prevent atrophy of his leg muscles – a potential consequence of sitting in a chair for 70 days in a row.
If he finishes, Cyril will only be the second self-propelled paddler to achieve this feat. In 1987, Ed Gillet completed the first solo kayak from Monterey, Calif. to Maui in a ready-to-go Tofino double kayak (Gillet’s story is told in the book “The Pacific aloneHelped at times with a parasol kite, Gillet made the trek in 63 days – 19 days longer than expected. He was short of food, had numerous equipment breakdowns and his family had lost hope by the time he He landed and survived on toothpaste during his last days on the water.
“Ed Gillet is a legend, I will never beat him. He was the first to do so, ”notes Cyril.
More important causes
Part of Cyril’s mission is to raise awareness of the Sausalito-based nonprofit Ocean Voyages Institute, which focuses on developing cutting-edge technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. “I’m tired of all kinds of garbage in our oceans,” Cyril noted. He is also a strong supporter of Rivers for change, a non-profit organization made up of a passionate group of river enthusiasts who are dedicated to changing the way people think and interact with water.
Set a record
Interestingly, setting a new record isn’t what motivates Cyril the most.
“I do it for adventure and to live life to the fullest. A lot of people are trying to find happiness. What is happiness? How did you find happiness? Is it a bigger car, a bigger house, more trips, no work, a bigger job, a better title? Remember the last time you were with friends you had a blast, it’s great, it’s the vibe. Or even with your child, watching him, taking his first bike ride, it’s the vibration. I’m just chasing my vibe and slowly it got me doing it, living a life of adventure.
“A friend of mine said to me, ‘Look, you’re 44 years old. You will live another 40 years after that, these crossings will take two months. Two months is a long time when you’re in it, but it’s nothing compared to your life, and those two months are going to define the next 40 years on how you’re going to live your life. For me, these two months are the best investments for the next 40 years.
Valentine’s Day Tracker
Cyril will depart from Sausalito, Calif., In the early morning of May 30, 2021. He will wear satellite tracking so everyone can follow his progress and will be updated hourly on his website. SoloKayaktoHawaii.com. You can also follow it on Facebook and Instagram, where he will share updates during his trip.
Words and photos by Chris Constantine