Attempting the Unthinkable: Rowing Nonstop from Hawaii to Australia

By: Abby Fountain

Our friend, Tez Steinberg, is a total badass. During the summer of 2020, he socially distanced harder than anyone – by shacking up in a 7-meter boat on the Pacific Ocean, rowing from San Francisco to Hawaii. Inspired to make his time on earth count after his father died by suicide, Tez has opened up the throttle on adventure and purpose. 

This epic row didn’t just cement him as the first novice person ever to complete the journey but the first person to ever complete the milestone on the first try. Additionally, his trip and the nonprofit he founded, United World Challenge, raised awareness of ocean pollution and money to fight back against it. 

For 71 days, Tez braved wind gusts, rolling waves, the merciless sun, and loneliness – perhaps the worst card of all. Finally, his boat reached the calmer waters of Kāne‘ohe Bay. Tez Steinberg finished his row, and United World Challenge supporters raised $76,925 for charity, funding the removal of approximately 5,000 pounds of plastic waste from the ocean. 

He had so much type II fun he’s running it back, but this time, he’ll launch from Hawaii and chart a course for Australia, some 5,000 miles away. Tez aims to launch in late November, with a planned arrival 115 days later in Cairns. 

There’s no doubt that Tez will face enormous hurdles – including towering waves, mighty squalls, and fierce temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. But with 46 marathons under his belt, he’s the guy for the job. But he’s not doing this for his own glory, he’s doing it to call immediate attention to the gigantic hurdles we’re all facing: pollution and climate change. 

We all have a part to play in this fight, and it will take all of us. Join Tez’s adventure by emailing him a letter (send to: for him to read while alone at sea. Or, consider donating here so United World Challenge can continue investing in solutions to end plastic pollution in the oceans. 

This journey encompasses more than one man and one boat. It seeks to rekindle a relationship with the cradle of human life and look at where we, as a human race, are headed should our life source be contaminated with poison and pollution. It’s likely that Tez learned countless lessons while watching countless waves break over the bow of his floating home, but we like to imagine these were the ones that nestled deep into his soul: that every dark cloud has a silver lining and hope rises on the sun’s rays every morning, even after the darkest of nights.