Photo: Anthony Ball
When 37-year-old Kiko Matthews set out to break the solo speed record for rowing the Atlantic in January, she’d already faced death at least twice in the form of two brain surgeries and time in intensive care whilst deeply ill with Cushing’s disease. Her experience inspired a quest to raise money for King’s College Hospital who treated her, and fostered a positive mindset that meant that even the 80ft waves she encountered during her record breaking 49-day row didn’t faze her.
In fact, Kiko completed the 3280-mile Atlantic row without any dramatic tales; she didn’t missed anyone or anything, liked her own company and genuinely enjoyed the experience. Truth be told, I was expecting tales of hallucinations, naked rowing and life-changing moments of facing fears, loneliness and total exhaustion, but Kiko’s positive approach to life meant that, save the brief low moment, she literally sailed through it. As she said to me, “You don’t have to do a big challenge in order to find yourself or to be happy – for me, these revelations have come from everyday life, from all the experiences I’ve had, good and bad.”
Enjoy the rest of our chat.