As Isaac Giesen prepares to be the first Kiwi to row the Atlantic to raise funds for organisations working against depression, he’s looking for sponsorship to help make it possible.

24-year-old Isaac Giesen AKA The Blue Rower, is the son of Giesen Wines co-founder Theo and his wife Janet. Isaac is in England training fulltime ahead of his solo row across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua, which starts on December 12 this year.

Known as the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, this is the world’s toughest row. Completing the 4,800 km (3000-mile) row across the world’s second largest ocean is rare and special. More people have been into space, or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. It takes courage to dig deep and keep going when faced with blisters, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation.

Isaac will be alone on the Atlantic for up to 90 days, rowing four hours on and two hours off consecutively to complete the epic challenge. He says while his solitude could be overwhelming at times, at least he knows it will be short term. Isaac lost his aunt and two friends to suicide and it is in their memory he will be rowing against depression. He aims to raise $1,000,000 to share equally among three organisations supporting those with depression; Victim Support, The Black Dog Institute and Bravehearts.

Isaac’s father Theo Giesen says “we’re proud of what he’s doing and we support him 100%. But we are worried. This is a grueling endurance event.”

However, Theo Giesen says they are confident Isaac is preparing well. “He’s training hard and has English rowing adventurer Leven Brown as his mentor.”

Leven Brown is one of the world’s most experienced and highly regarded ocean rowing skippers. He is a multiple Guinness World Record holder and survival expert. Leven has rowed over 30,000 nautical miles, including the Trade Winds route several times, the North Atlantic from New York to the Scilly Isles and across the Indian Ocean from Western Australia to the Seychelles.

Theo and Janet Giesen along with their family and friends are financially supporting Isaac as he prepares for the fundraising challenge. Isaac Giesen is training fulltime in England with a combination of rowing, strength training and yoga. He has had to purchase and fit-out an ocean-worthy row boat with satellite and UHF radios and tracking equipment. Isaac estimates he requires another $60,000 to help him complete the race.

Any businesses or individuals who want to contribute to support Isaac Giesen’s challenge against depression can contact Theo Giesen. Individuals wanting to make donations can do so via the Everyday Hero website https://www.everydayhero.co.nz/event/thebluerower

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