Rowers plan to make waves at competition

Mad4Waves members, from left, Matthew Boynton, Lee Gordon, Grant Soll and Cole Barnard prepares to take on the worlds toughest row challenge, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Four young men – one of them a Clifton resident – are preparing to tackle the world’s roughest row challenge, and bring home a Guinness World Record for being the youngest four men to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a rowing boat.

UCT students, Matthew Boynton, from Clifton, and Lee Gordon, Cole Barnard, Grant Soll who all live in the CBD, are Team Mad4Waves who will be competing in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.

Known as the world’s toughest row challenge, the event sees crews from around the world competing to cross about 5000 kilometres of the Atlantic ocean.

The 2018 challenge is expected to kick off on December 12, with crews rowing from San Sebastian in La Gomera, Canary Islands for more than 50 days to reach Nelson’s Dockyard English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda.

In partnership with the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation, the team aims to raise funds to sponsor academically talented students and provide 1000 upcycled plastic desks to primary schools around the country.

“We know how lucky we are to have received a good education and we believe that the biggest difference one can make in someone’s life, is to give them an education and we want to make that difference,” said Matthew.

He said there was a lot that went into preparing for the challenge. Apart from logistics, the team needed to prepare physically and mentally. “Getting the right nutrition is also key, we’re trying to put on some weight now because we’ll have to lose weight during the race,” he said.

Matthew said rowing was a tough and competitive sport and they tried to look out for each other as a team. He added that they were currently preparing to see a psychologist who would help them manage a good relationship as they would spend a lot of time together in a tight space.

Rowing under the slogan “One Team, One Ocean, One Difference”, Team Mad4Waves will be the only team representing South Africa in the challenge.

Members of the public are urged to donate funds toward the desk drive. For more information visit