Sonya Baumstein
Sonya Baumstein

Sonya Baumstein

Born: April 22, 1985
Hometown: Orlando, FL
Height: 5' 4"
Began Sailing: 1993
Began Rowing: 1998

Sonya Baumstein is an expedition athlete and citizen scientist who grew up on the water. Each year, she goes out on backcountry journeys ranging from 2 to 6 months and collects valuable data for ongoing research pertaining to climate change and animal patterns.

On June 7, 2015 Sonya departed from Choshi, Japan to begin her attempt to become the first female to row solo from Japan to San Francisco. Prior to this, her most recent expedition saw her become the first person to stand up paddle board the Bering Strait. Her trip, roughly four to six months, is approximately 6,000-miles, rowing 14-18 hours per day in a custom carbon boat weighing less than 775 lbs. without a motor or sail. Baumstein's boat was built and outfitted in Port Townsend, Wash., by SpinDrift Rowing and she can be tracked at

During the expedition, Sonya will:

  • Store and consume more than 1,000 lbs. of freeze-dried food and 180 drink supplements

  • Drink olive oil to retain weight

  • Use an electric water maker that produces 30 liters of water per hour

  • Sleep in a small berth with straps to hold her secure during rough weather

  • Collect thousands of data points to help calibrate and validate current oceanographic research tools

  • Communicate using a satellite phone for emergency and data collection

  • Communicate with schools in the U.S. about her journey through the Expedition Pacific Ocean Ambassadors program

"Preparing for a journey like Sonya's requires dedication and mental toughness.  We know she is ready to overcome any challenges she will encounter," said Greg Thomsen, adidas Outdoor U.S. managing director.  

"We look forward to communicating with her to track her progress, not only for her personal achievements, but also, for the advancements in science. We wish her smooth seas and a safe passage."

This mission will be the first collection of shallow surface data, as the rowboat sits just one foot below the water, and will gain additional knowledge about ocean salinity, fresh water and temperature.

Depending on wind, waves and weather, Sonya is expected to row 40 to 60 miles a day. She will use her previous experiences from stand-up paddle boarding across the Bering Strait in 2013 and rowing across the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands toBarbados in 2011, and will apply survival skills based on what she learned.


2013: Stand Up Paddled the Bering Strait

2012-2013: Kayaked the Inside Passage

2012-2013: First Citizen science project during cycle from Mexico to Seattle

2011-2012: Rowed the Atlantic Ocean in 56 days 9 hours, 20 minutes


Mayan Smith-Gobat

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