Wednesday 20 September 2017

'It's one of the world's most extreme challenges' - Former Irish rugby player on his 'epic' challenge across Atlantic

Damian Browne (36) is about to face his toughest challenge yet
Damian Browne (36) is about to face his toughest challenge yet
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

A former Irish rugby player is taking on an "epic" challenge, rowing across the Atlantic Ocean in a one-man boat.

Damian Browne (36) who spent 16 years playing national and international rugby, told Independent.ie that the TALISKER Whisky Atlantic Challenge is the "toughest in the world".

After a 16-year-career battling on the rugby pitches of The Celtic league, English Premiership and French Top 14 Championship, Damian retired from rugby but that hasn’t stopped him from challenging himself.

“It’s the world’s toughest row, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. Starting in San Sebastian, La Gomera, Canary Islands and finishing in Nelson's Dockyard, Antigua the crossing is a true test of the mental and physical capacities of a human being.

Damian Browne (36) is about to face his toughest challenge yet
Damian Browne (36) is about to face his toughest challenge yet

"I want to test myself mentally and physically in the world's most extreme environments. These experiences are incredibly powerful and rewarding,” Damian told Independent.ie.

Damian, originally from Galway, said the challenge is a “one-man mission” where he has to be self-sufficient in terms of dealing with the boat, getting clean water and bringing enough food.

“I can’t have any outside help or I’ll be disqualified.”

The challenge takes place at the end of the year but Damian has begun intense treatment.

Damian Browne said the Atlantic row will be the most extreme challenge he has ever done
Damian Browne said the Atlantic row will be the most extreme challenge he has ever done

“I love the extremity of this adventure. I’ve been preparing mentally and physically for it. Mentally I have to be prepared to be one man on one boat in the middle of the ocean whereas physically I’m trying to build up a lot of strength and condition.

“You lose 25pc of your body weight on the challenge so I need to bulk up.”

The boats used for the challenge are approximately 7.5 meters long and 1.8 meters wide, which means the competitors won’t be able to walk about freely on board.

Each one will have a small cabin, which is the only protection teams have against the might of the ocean and powerful sun rays.

Damian Browne
Damian Browne

“It’ll be my first time taking to the sea but I’ve done many extreme challenges before. I’m really excited to go out and do it.”

For more information on Damian's journey you can visit here.

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