Riaan Manser

15000 people applied to join Riaan Manser on an epic row from the Canary Islands to Barbados this December, a young man from Soweto was selected to join him.


Fanafikile “Fana” Lehakha was chosen from 15000 people who applied to join Riaan Manser on an epic journey across an entire ocean. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to join the explorer on a row across the Atlantic.

Fana took part in a gruelling 5-day boot camp as part of The Odyssey Row competition with Riaan Manser. He was delighted to receive the news that he was the 1 in 15000. The row will start in the first week of December and last around 45 days, starting from the Canary Islands and ending on the Island of Barbados.

Fana was born in Phuthaditjhaba in the Free State and lived there with his family until 1999 when his mother died. He then moved to the South of Johannesburg with his aunt where he went on to study Chemical Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.

He entered The Odyssey Row to challenge himself. He is the father to 17-month-old twins and cares for his 6-year-old nephew. Being named the winner of the competition means he will now face weeks of training to prepare for the 45-day row.

This training will include work on the static rowing machines, fitness and week-long swim training by Ryk Neethling at the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. He will also need to prepare himself mentally for the long, unaided row.

“Although this is my third crossing of an ocean, I am still mindful and nervous it being Fanafikile’s first time” – Riaan Manser
All the preparations are being made for the boat which they will be using, including the set up of solar power and satellite for communication. They will need these things as they will not have a support boat along the way.
They leave for the Canary Islands on November 19th. During their stay there, they will do their final on-water training and start packing the boat.

Sources: iol / iol
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Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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