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Jordan Godoy of the Newport Aquatic Center is the youngest American to have rowed the Pacific Ocean. An alumnus of Servite High School '12 and Cal State Fullerton '16, Jordan competed on a 4 person team in the 2018 Great Pacific Race where the participants row a 24’ boat from Monterey, California to Waikiki, Hawaii; a distance of approximately 2,400 nautical miles. His team was the first to finish, reaching Waikiki in just under 50 days. A slightly younger teammate from Scotland, Michael Prendergast, became the Guinness Record-holder as the youngest person in the world to row this route.

In mid-December, Jordan will depart for Portugal to help his new team prepare their attempt to break a World Record in rowing the Southern Atlantic Ocean. This trip of approximately 3,500 nautical miles will hopefully be completed in 48 days. In completing this, Jordan believes he will be the youngest person in the world to have rowed both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. 

These rowing events are acknowledged to be the most difficult physical challenges on the planet; nothing else really compares. It would be similar to a distance runner doing a marathon, resting for two hours, then doing another, and another, for 50 days. The physical toll comes from each teammate rowing for two hours, then resting for two continually throughout the journey. They are exposed to the elements the entire time and are always wet. Their food sources are the most compact, highest protein and nutrient-rich things available: freeze-dried packets, protein bars, and military-style MRE’s. The goal is to take in 5,000-6,000 calories each day to support the 12 hours that each person rows. Due to seasickness and adapting to the movements of the boat, along with the new schedule on the water, not a lot of food is consumed the first week. Drinking water comes from a desalination device on the boat. The mental toll comes from the lack of a normal sleep routine, the isolation, and the endless expanse of the open ocean. Each rower deals with hallucinations at times, and teamwork can be made difficult due to each person’s own mental state. Each day is a lesson in overcoming adversity and working as a team. There is no support boat on this trip.

The ocean itself can be an adversary. Bad weather, unfavorable wind, and/or currents can result in zero miles gained after a full day of rowing – a depressing outcome for the crew. There are overcast, moonless nights that are pitch black. There can be the sudden occurrence of rogue waves and there are sometimes encounters near shipping lanes of gigantic tankers that the tiny rowboat needs to avoid. This year, the crew also needs to be wary of a pod of Orcas that have been attacking small crafts off the shores of Portugal and Spain. They’ll have their heads on a swivel for the first 48 hours keeping an eye out for these whales. Hopefully, their onboard electronics work more often than not and they plot a good course.

We wish Jordan the best of luck. May the weather and currents be with them and the wind always at their back. We know he has the stamina and mental strength to accomplish this goal, and we’ll follow him every nautical mile of the way!

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