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Wednesday 11 October 2017

From wine to rowing solo: Giesen sets a huge target

The Giesen family are among the biggest names in the New Zealand wine industry but now one of their number is hitting the headlines for a completely different reason.

Isaac Giesen, son of Giesen Wines co-founder Theo Giesen and his wife Janet, is preparing to solo row the Atlantic Ocean to raise funds for organisations working against depression.

Giesen, 24, is in England training full-time ahead of his solo row across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua, which starts on December 12 this year.

The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge is promoted as the world's toughest rowing event and competitors will take around 90 days to complete the 4,800km row across the world’s second-largest ocean.

More people have been into space, or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic.

Isaac Giesen will be rowing four hours on and two hours off consecutively to complete the epic challenge. He says while his solitude could be overwhelming at times, at least he knows it will be short term.
He has lost an aunt and two friends to suicide and it is in their memory he will be rowing against depression. He aims to raise $1 million to share equally among three organisations supporting those with depression; The Black Dog Institute, Victim Support and Bravehearts.

Isaac’s father Theo Giesen says: “We’re proud of what he’s doing and we support him 100%. But we are worried. This is a gruelling endurance event.”

Isaac estimates he requires another $60,000 to help him compete in the event.

Businesses or individuals who want to contribute to support Isaac Giesen’s challenge against depression can contact him via

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