Seattle resident, Erden Eruc (pronounced 'Air-den Air-rooch') completed the first solo circumnavigation by human power in 5 years and 11 days. What started as a simple idea in 1997, become a quiet obsession. A tragic accident which claimed the life of Göran Kropp while rock climbing together in September of 2002, finally put him in motion. Life was too short.
Erden is the leading ocean rower in the world today. He is the recipient of the 2013 Citation of Merit from the prestigious Explorers Club, one of the 2013 Adventurers of the Year – “nine individuals changing the face of global adventure” by Outside Magazine, and one of the 50 Most Adventurous Men by Men’s Journal. He is already listed in the 2009, 2012, 2014, 2017 & 2018 Guinness books of World Records, including:
First to complete a solo circumnavigation of the world by human power
First to row the three oceans: Atlantic, Pacific and Indian
First to row across an ocean from southern hemisphere to northern
Greatest total distance rowed solo on the oceans - (over 33,000 miles)
Longest distance rowed across the Atlantic Ocean
Highest career total days for a solo ocean rower by 844 days
Most experienced ocean rower alive with an overall career total of 894 days (and counting)
Longest career distance rowed on oceans by nearly 29,000 nautical miles
Longest nonstop time at sea for a solo ocean rower by 312 days
Honors and Awards
Ocean Ambassador - Ocean Recovery Alliance
Ocean Recovery Alliance is a 501(c)(3) registered in California and a registered charitable organization in Hong Kong, the focus of which is to help improve our ocean environment through new ways of thinking and collaboration. They have launched the Global Alert App to empower individuals and stakeholders of beaches and riverfronts to take action especially to address plastic pollution. As an Ocean Ambassador, Erden will participate in their awareness campaigns.
2015 Turkish American of the Year Award - Assembly of Turkish American Associations
"Presented to Erden Eruc in recognition of his extraordinary expeditions and exemplary initiatives which are sources of pride to the Turkish American community."
35th Annual Turkish American Conference, 12-14 March 2015, Washington, DC, USA
2013 Citation of Merit - The Explorers Club
The prestigious Explorers Club which was established in 1904 embodies the spirit of exploration where curiosity meets adventure. Its membership has attracted the likes of early polar explorers including Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton or astronauts who were first to the moon or to space. The first to climb Mt. Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary was their president for a long time. Don Walsh the first to descend to the bottom of the 11,000 meter deep Mariana...more
2013 Adventurers of the Year - Outside Magazine
"Nine people changing the face of global adventure" -- The 2013 list by Outside Magazine which includes Felix Baumgartner and James Cameron
Best of ExplorersWeb 2012 - ExplorersWeb
"Best of Explorersweb" is selected by the journalists at Explorersweb, the world's leading source in adventure news. ExplorersWeb selects expeditions every year by their performance, having proved themselves outstanding in all or most of the following: *Courage, *Determination, *Persistence, *Self reliance, *Ingenuity, *Pioneering, *Idealism, *Comradeship, *Compassion, *Respect towards competition, *Honesty
2012 Sports Career Achievement Grand Award - Turkish National Olympic Committee
This award was issued at the Olympic House in Istanbul together with the other recipients of 2012 Fair Play Awards for having used sports to advance humanitarian causes.
- 2012 Golden Dolphin Award
- 2011 Vancouver Award by the Explorers Club
- First solo circumnavigation by human power
- First person to row three different oceans
- First person to row mainland to mainland from Australia to Africa
- First Person to cross an ocean from the southern hemisphere to the northern
- Highest career total for a solo ocean rower, 844 days
- Most experienced ocean rower alive, 894 days and counting
- Longest total distance rowed in career, over 33,000 miles
- Longest distance rowed on the Atlantic Ocean, about 5,465 nautical miles (2011-12)
- Longest solo ocean row - 312 days (2008)
- Fair Play Award by Turkish National Olympic Committee (2007)
- First Turkish man to row across an ocean (2006)
- First Turkish man to climb big walls of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome (1989) and El Capitan (1991)
- Sportsman of Graduating Class, Bogaziçi University (1983)
Eruç was born in Nicosia, Cyprus in 1961 and raised in Turkey. He has been an avid outdoorsman from an early age. When he was 11, his father took him for a climbing trip to Mount Erciyes, an extinct stratovolcano in south central Turkey and the highest mountain in central Anatolia with a summit at 3,916 m (12,848 ft). During his higher education years, Eruç studied mechanical engineering at Boğaziçi Universityin Istanbul where he earned both a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Science degree. In 1986, he moved to the United States where he continued his studies in engineering and business administration, earning a second Master of Science degree in Engineering Mechanics at Ohio State University and an MBA degree at George Mason University.
When his schooling was complete, Eruç worked in various technical consulting projects in the U.S. for nine years, advancing into project management. At the age of 41 he left the corporate office world, allowing him all the time he needed to pursue a dream of far-flung outdoor adventures. His new occupation was educating and inspiring others, especially children, through the pursuit of entirely human-powered travels around the world. He is now a sailor and certified seaman, holding a USCG endorsed Charter Boat Captain credential, also known as a National Operator of Uninspected Passenger Vessel (OUPV).
During his journey to Alaska to climb Mount McKinley, Eruç took some time out and married Nancy Board in June 2003. Board is an American businesswoman, an outdoor enthusiast and the acting Vice President of the Around-n-Over nonprofit organization. The couple met a few years earlier while both were consultants at a United States Postal Service project in Chicago. Though they are from different cultural backgrounds, Eruç being from Turkey and Board being from Missouri, they were married in a native Alaskan Haida-Tsimshian ceremony on a beach in Sadie Cove along the Kachemak Bay south of Homer, Alaska.