In May, Hussein Bader and myself took on the challenge to SUP 150km around the main island of Bahrain.  I met Hussein through his business, Paddlesport Marine which sells everything one needs to have fun in the sea.  Our voyage took 4 days to complete, with an anti-clockwise route starting and finishing at Al Dar Island.  On reflection here are 5 things that I learnt which will empower you too.

1.      If you’d like to achieve something great, only tell supportive people.

The first challenge we faced was to get some sponsorship.  I had meetings with a tonne of people and was rejected many times.  The majority of responses were “what’s in it for us?”. Only a handful of people would say “you’re crazy and we love it, what can we do to help?”.  The first to do so, was Alosra.  They sorted out our food.  No questions.  No fuss.  Humble.  Next to jump on board was RCSI Bahrain.  They are dedicated to enhancing the health of Bahrain and The GCC.  With a similar passion to Tribal Fitness, they put their hand up to support all the equipment we needed.  Finally, The Movenpick and more precisely their GM, Daniel Kaan were amazing.  Before the SUP challenge, I ran the length of Bahrain (68km) and the hotel put me up the night before the run.  Their amazing Head Chef, Alfred Zuberbuehler even made up a great feast the night before.  I was particularly shocked to see Daniel get up at 4am and take me to the start line himself.  Talk about going the extra mile.  I am now incredibly loyal to Movenpick due to Daniel’s actions.

Even before the challenges, I felt like giving up due to negative people.  Thankfully, finding some positive people enabled us to go ahead with confidence.  If you would like to take on an amazing challenge, only speak to people who will push you up, not pull you down.

2.  Learn Arabic.

The Bahrain Coastguard were simply fantastic on our trip around Bahrain.  Their professionalism and support made the journey much safer and less stressful.  I’m sure they could have been doing much better work with their time but they were with us to the end.  I was embarrassed not to converse well with these great guys in Arabic and it has inspired me to become fluent (even though I am now living in Hong Kong!).  Learning the language will open up so many opportunities such as business, culture and friendships. 

3.  It’s not over until it’s a success.

There were many times when we felt like the adventure was doomed.  On the last day we were met with a 30 knot head wind and despite our best efforts, we were going backwards.  We decided to take refuge behind a bay.  It took patience to wait out for the winds.  We made the call to travel out to sea for miles to a reef for protection.  It added a lot of time to the adventure but life doesn’t go in a straight line.  As long as there is a vision, there is purpose.  Sometimes a vision seems unreachable.  Combing patience and doggedness, we will eventually be victorious.  It’s not over until you give up.

4.  You are as good as your gear.

Having been nomadic for the best part of my entire life, I live a very simple existence.  I have very few possessions but the ones I do have are good quality.  If they breakdown, I fix them straight away.  Today we live in a consumer-driven world.  Cheap shit breaks quickly and we chuck it out.  Whether it’s clothing, shoes, tech or equipment, buy the best you can afford and treat it with respect.  Underneath the Saudi Causeway, I managed to fall in the drink.  It’s a pretty scary place to be as strong currents push you all over the place.  Having a top quality water proof backpack, all my gear, including electronics stayed bone dry after being submerged.  Live simple.  Buy quality.

5.  Be grateful everyday for family and friends (and hamburgers)

We all seem to be on some sort of race today.  It’s a race to get up the corporate ladder or to have a better car.  Floating around the Arabian Gulf makes you appreciate the important stuff in a little more context.  After the adventure, I really did earn the right to a beef burger and cleaned up Elevation Burger.  Sometimes I eat food without appreciating it fully.  Give thanks for the good people in your life and the good food in your belly!

Craig - Founder of Tribal Fitness