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SEASON 1

SOLO ATLANTIC ROW

Day 1, the day everything that could go wrong, went wrong. After 588 days of preparation, plus 2 extra days because the

start of the race, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, got put back due to weather conditions, I pushed my 7 metre (23 ft) ocean rowing boat away from the marina in La Gomera (Canary Islands) and rowed into the unknown.

I felt prepared for many things, but I was not ready for what happened after only 6 hours into a 5000km trans-Atlantic crossing

Mental redirects, clarity on what had gone wrong on Day 1, learning to live, the solo mistake, losing the fight to sleep, the mentality, “I want it to be as hard as it can possibly be” and why, not ungrateful but, the trade winds secret, a BGAN, and building an association between hard and it’s rich rewards.

Days 5 – Dreaming awake, the pressures of time, foulies on and the cabin dry, arse dry battle, Denali journal, the interesting consequence of low-level discomfort, dropped standards.

Day 6 – Wired to find solutions, the introduction of routine and structure = mental resolution, space and freedom popping the emotional cork, good mileage, rowing my little heart out, a pushing to my edges.

Day 7-  One week doing just one thing, unfathomable, living.

Days 9 – The biggest conditions the TWAC has seen in 10 years, the battle with no moonlight, an overnight storm, waking up to find you are minus one oar, self-loathing, deep reflection and analysis with brutal honesty, lazy and sloppy standards, the uplifting process of holding myself accountable & to a higher standard, a tough lesson, the incredible stories of Team O2 and Team Tenzing, the beautiful clarity a simple life of survival and existing brings and a simple 3 step process to change anything in your life.

In this episode I answer listeners questions sent in over the first 5 weeks. Tune in to hear questions answered on goal setting, purifying water on the Atlantic, what I did with Darien (my boat) after finishing, daily routine & mindset practices on board, my thoughts on building mental toughness and getting out of a rut, sponsorship & personal investment in the project and some questions from former British & Irish Lion Stephen Ferris asking about my experience with giving up and self-doubt

Day 10: Lack of choice and its rewards, patterning habits & building associations, choosing the hard road and shitting into a bucket.

Day 11: A close encounter with a tanker, a visit from a beautiful lady, the endearing story of Oliver Crane and the eve of the day I dreaded most.

Day 14: Imagine being woken up as you are catapulted, face first, into the side of a solid wood cabin during a capsize as a ferocious wave turns your boat over 360 degrees in a raging storm. Welcome to Day 14 on the Atlantic, also known as the craziest day of my life. This was a day spent at the edges of life as I battled my wits, fears and mother nature. 2 full capsizes, one where I hung onto the boat with one hand as I rode the capsize 180 degrees under water, calmly repeating to myself a practiced mantra for the very scenario, "squeeze your grip".

Day 15: Loss of memories and connection, issues and frustration with my steering and lack of control over the boat, getting weight into the stern of the boat, 3 Mars bars for breakfast, a gift from A-Team Adventures, a new waypoint 1350 nautical miles, a hopping mind and the focus shift from performance to survival.

Day 16: A large period of my morning taken away from rowing and progress trying to sort out my steering problem,

Day 18: Surprise and disappointment in myself and my output; night rowing and the allure of the cabin lights; my race is over after 700 miles; conditions change and the daunting reality of the mammoth task ahead without a functioning steering system; getting spat out of wind tunnels and the exhausting process to try to get back in; the colossal upper body strength needed to realign the boat and the demoralising reality that this fight was never one I could win but would be faced with daily; my connection puzzle/strategy, letters from home and an emotional punch in the gut; a ship and a dredger so far from land?; A competitive animal by nature or nurture.

Day 24: An ocean rowing warning playing out, 'Everything breaks', My first video diary after 5 days of technical difficulties, Spares for spares, My one luxury on hold, 1000NM done, The story of a non-swimmers first plunge into the ocean and the reason behind why I had to do it, The electric blue of my first wash in 23 days, wearing something normally found on glaciers to keep me safe and alive & Having no Deathwish. 

One corner of the vast answer to the title question. Striping back the layers of protection and exposure to thyself; 3 choices available to me with the exposed information; The empowerment of choosing the brave option & having a bit of fun in the process.

Day 26: Ill-disciplined start; The daily battles especially night time rowing; The stark difference between two spaces separated by one metre and millimetres

In this episode I answer your questions sent in over the past few weeks, such as, what to do during a major storm in the middle of the Atlantic. And why would a man who has stated to ‘not being a strong swimmer’, decide to row a boat across the ocean?

Sometime I feel like I don't belong in the modern world; Unleashing the wild man inside me; becoming uncomfortable in comfort; A coded deep communication I trust and listen too; Accepting my dark side; and feeding off actions that align with my values.

Day 28- Benign conditions; Hands flaring up dramatically overnight; This is exactly where I want to be, no complaints; Taking in as much as I can while I'm here; James Glynn and Joe Rogan Tweeting; Milestones on the horizon.

One of my favourite moments from the Marathon des Sables; Dense & intense skies full of more stars than imaginable; Magical!; A beautiful compliment shimmering on the ocean's surface.

Day 32: Pain meds & ceasing up fingers; Long duration events and finding psychological battles; Is this programmed?; Resets, visualisation and perspective. A shooting star or the International Space Station? Respect & admiration for Mark Slats

Day 36: A sleepless night with an unexpected GPS surprise at 4am; The hidden importance of a window of sleep; The absorption of some hard-fought miles; The real time reality of outcome focus versus process and a headspace treaty.

Day 37: 7 miles bringing mental deflation; Expectations are not my friend; Fighting winds but little mileage; The mindset that every moment counts.

My adult life = an obsession to get better, a desperation to improve; The genesis of this was a decision, my decision; Pain inducing questions I posed to myself; Find what's valuable to me with a boot to the face; My love for rugby and how it fuelled the person I am today; layering and rewiring through actions and experience; The surpassing of rugby as a prioritised value; The importance of "Body First" focus for me; Adventure the perfect fit to explore myself and the world; Finally my thirst for full responsibility for my own training is quenched; How an unstoppable concoction of elements push you to your edges and over, and that's where you learn, grow.

Introduction: Visitors in their natural habitat on Day 40, visitors well distance from their natural habitat on Day 41.

Day 41 : Delighted with an extra 3/4 miles in the last 24hrs; Deceptive conditions; A visit from Thor!; After 41 full days and thousands of sq miles of ocean, I'm 1 mile from another ocean rowing boat; I can see Remolon from time to time between the waves.

Introduction: I am desperate to live; Listening to my internal compass; Finding things very important during my search; The other side of the desperate coin = pain; Learning to listen to the feedback; Avoid, accept, change?; The need I value most in life is; An addiction on the truest level; Becoming good at finding a way to what's important to you

Day 44 : A progressive degeneration off sores over 3 weeks; 10 minutes on, 10 off for 800 miles?; Advice from Mr Ian Couch brought a solution; two 39-mile days which were huge for my psychological state; Adapted, kept grinding and found a way; Happy out.

Let's visualise! Me vs. me and no getting away from that battle. Stumbling on an unseen solution to the constant battle.

Day 46: 40 miles; Tough finish to the morning working against Northerly winds; Doubling up on breakfast & lunch; No salt, pepper or hot sauce; Singing songs about grinding; The holes are growing wider on the perch.

'Welcome to the real world'; Living in an avenue of life with, purpose, discomfort and lack of choice; Seeing the world differently because of the reality of a rugby life; Broadening my map of how I see the world; Grateful having walked in the gate of Galwegians RFC; Nervous system feedback at 11; Breaking conditioning & perceptions through the demands of professional rugby; My need for growth; I am an Explorer; The squeeze of external and internal pressures; My supports on and off the ocean; Justin Adkin's guidance and Ian Couch's suggestion.

In this episode Damian answer's listeners questions. Here's a favour of what you asked:

Why was it not acceptable, even necessary to 'horse' 3 Mars Bars into yourself considering the energy demands of what you were doing every day?

Would love to hear more about your exact diet on the ocean?

A panel in NUIG and a TedX Talk in Switzerland; An important practice in my life; Self-imposed barriers & untruthful perceptions; Discovering "false walls" on the Atlantic; Disturbing one's conditioning; A healthy, educational practice that does my head in at times; Why? Why? Why?

Day 51: A good day, 45NM; Rowing 12hrs a day now seems easy; My daily rowing, fuelling and sleeping structure; Regain some time lost from the Northerlies? Is the water heavier sometime??

Values & voids; A desire to be always better; Being an inconsistent rugby player due to lack of mental control; A huge output of energy over the last 5 years to fill in my void; A "body first" method of mental prep; Between stimulus & response you have the freedom to choose; 'Everybody has a plan until you're punched in the face' - Mike Tyson; Learning your mental game through lived physical experiences; 3 parts to my mental preparation; 1 "Internal" & 2 "External" elements to mental prep. for challenges.

A synopsis of days 54 to 57, including a strange psychological phenomenon of having no pressure after the sleep of 53; conditions becoming “pretty crazy”; Perching falling, sores and fingers; letting a wave penetrate the beautiful dry cabin at 4am; The Compass versus the GPS; Deepening one’s character through suffering and space; screening sat. phone calls; Worsening conditions; A crazy finish?; Sonic-booms and unseen squalls, A fist fight and some washing.

It's a long one! In this opening Damian explains why he finishes his episodes with the sentence, "Keep striving for more from yourself" and why he holds a philosophy/belief that "Life is a fight". 

Day 58 'Fight' :  An attempt to describe the journey; The monster that is the Atlantic; Howling, bubbling and grumbling away; An incredible challenge, the one I wanted; The harder it gets the more I relish the adversity; The difficulty in the consistent drone; Eating the big challenges up;

A toilet analogy to explain the subconscious signalling of why everything starts to hurt at the end of a challenge/expedition

Day 59: Arse sores back with vengeance due to wet days; Rowing without a perch for a bit; Everything starting to hurt; Signalling to "give up"; A wild night - Squalls and bombs hitting the cabin; Crazy painkiller induced dreams?

In the last listener’s questions episode, Damian answers questions on readjusting to life off the ocean and how quickly he put on weight again, when reality kicked in that he wasn’t going to win and the importance of having a better understanding of the challenge before setting such goals versus having big aspirational goals; did he ever just shit himself in the dead of night; the issues around questioning everything over preparation and has he ever ended up injuring himself by pushing through the excuses his mind can make up.

The final chapter in an epic tale and to reflect the journey as a whole, it doesn't end without a challenge; How 2 fried satellite phones and a misplaced finishing procedure hand out nearly meant I 'missed' the island of Antigua

Day 63 : 50 miles from Antigua; No personal diary made in 48 hours; Risking losing all my video diaries; 14% battery life and a dead charging cable finally; Loving the experience but ready for Antigua.

INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH DAMIAN

INTERESTED IN WORKING WITH DAMIAN