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Renowned Ocean Kayaker Aleksander Doba Dies on Kilimanjaro

He was the first person to paddle a seven-metre sea kayak across the Atlantic ocean, a voyage that spanned 5,394 kilometers

A Polish paddler who crossed the Atlantic Ocean three times by kayak has died on the summit of Kilimanjaro, his family said on Tuesday. Aleksander Doba, a 74-year-old retired engineer recognizable by his thick white beard and weathered look, was well known in Poland.

In 2015, Doba was National Geographic’s People Choice Adventurer of the year with a record-setting 521,000 votes.

“It is with profound regret that we announce the death of the great kayaker Alesander Doba on February 22. He died like an adventurer after reaching Africa’s highest peak, Kilimanjaro, realising his dreams,” his family said in a Facebook post.

According to Polish media reports, Doba lost consciousness shortly after reaching the 5,891.8-metre peak and never regained it despite efforts to revive him.

Doba’s first trans-Atlantic crossing from Senegal to Brazil took him from October 2010 to February 2011, the second from Portugal to US shores from October 2013 to April 2014. His third voyage from US to French shores lasted 111 days.

In August 2014, Doba spoke with Jeff Moag of Canoe and Kayak, read the interview here. Moag asked, “Crossing the Atlantic was your goal, and you achieved it. Why in the world would you do it again?”

Doba responded, “Why, after having spent 99 days and nights on the ocean, would I even think of returning back on the Atlantic? Well, it was a fascinating, appealing, passionate journey. It brought me multiple excitements and wonderful experiences. Such a close relation and the beauty of mighty nature… Watching the storms approaching, moments before it will embrace me… This amazing silence, just before a storm hit… This powerful energy pulsing… And then, struggling with the heart of nature, the isolation. These were the experiences that filled me to the core with profound emotions. So, even before I reached Brazil, while still on the ocean, I already craved for another expedition across Atlantic. Unsettled, never considering to quit, I had this growing appetite for even more excitement. It became obvious to me that I already should start planning next cross-Atlantic journey.”

Our condolences to Doba’s friends and family.

Aleksander Doba