In an epic world first expedition led by Icelandic polymath Fiann Paul, five international athletes have completed the first of the Polar Row’s two rows shattering the previous Arctic Ocean speed record.

Upon completion of this first leg, the team’s mentor (and the most successful rower in Olympic history), Sir Steve Redgrave CBE, stated that he’s “proud of how well the boys did.”

This first leg of the expedition departed Tromsø, Norway on July 20th and the team rowed across the Barents Sea arriving in Hornsund, Svalbard on July 27th; 7 days and 7 hours later.

The Barents Sea is one of the northernmost seas in the world and sailors of the past had named it the “Devil’s Dance Floor” because of its harsh conditions. A reporter noted that the passage had yet to be given a name by a rower, and Fiann decided that “Devil’s Jaw” was most fitting due to the strong currents and prevailing headwinds.

The crew averaged 2.58 knots of speed during this first leg which is roughly 3.5x faster than the previous record for the Arctic Ocean. This average speed is also higher than the current overall speed record for the Pacific Ocean, which is something nobody was expecting.

Fiann Paul is now the first person in history to have rowed 4 oceans, the first to hold speed records on 4 oceans, and now holds more Guinness World Records for ocean rowing than anyone else. Fiann’s total ocean rowing effort can be compared to consecutively running approximately 300 marathons.

The second leg is due to depart during the middle of next week from Longyearbyen, Svalbard after a crew change. The team will be heading to Siglufjordur, Iceland and the row will last roughly 22 days.

To track the progress of the expedition, to learn more about the Polar Row, to stay updated on the project, and to donate to the Polar Row Charity, please visit: