22 Feb 2019

Isaac Giesen becomes first Kiwi to row across the Atlantic solo

9:08 pm on 22 February 2019

A man who's just become the first New Zealander to row across the Atlantic Ocean solo says he's sad to be off the water.

Isaac Giesen is the first New Zealander to row across the Atlantic Ocean solo with his parents Theo and Janet Giesen

Photo: Supplied

Isaac Giesen had been on the water 70 days, 19 hours and 37 minutes when he pulled up in Antigua overnight on Thursday.

Mr Giesen also became the first Kiwi to have crossed the Atlantic twice within one year, rowing more than 12,000km alone.

Speaking from the island he said he'd loved it out on the ocean.

Mr Giesen had been rowing to raise awareness for mental health.

He'd lost an aunt and two friends to suicide.

"If you lose someone to suicide it's quite a horrible thing to actually deal with," he said.

"I'm just trying to change the attitudes that New Zealanders are facing, and Australians as well, as it's something that needs to change.

"It's sad people can't talk when they're in need."

Mr Giesen said he had prepared for the row by being open-minded and relaxed.

He found it hard to sum up what it was like out on the water for so long.

"For me, it's just perfect really - but you could say it's wet, salty, raw, beautiful," he said.

"I guess that's the best way of describing the ocean. It's unpredictable, always changing."

Mr Giesen said he never felt like he wanted to be somewhere else.

"The whole time was amazing."

He said he would continue to raise awareness - and his ideas to do so included climbing Mt Cook and snowboarding down, rowing across the Tasman Sea, and the Pacific and Southern oceans.

He planned to spend the next few days fishing, windsurfing, sleeping, and eating fried chicken.

Donations are still open for anyone wanting to donate to Isaac Giesen's cause, The Blue Rower.

Where to get help:

Need to Talk? Free call or text 1737 any time to speak to a trained counsellor, for any reason.

Lifeline: 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 / 0508 TAUTOKO (24/7)

Depression Helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritans: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youthline: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8am-12am), or email talk@youthline.co.nz

What's Up: online chat (3pm-10pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 helpline (12pm-10pm weekdays, 3pm-11pm weekends)

Kidsline (ages 5-18): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Healthline: 0800 611 116

Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155