More than 500 miles into his solo paddleboarding expedition from South Carolina to Martha’s Vineyard, Adam Nagler is starting to feel the weight of his journey.

In late June, Mr. Nagler embarked on his Wicked 1,000 fundraiser to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services’ mental health programs. He plans to paddle the more than 1,000 miles from Little River Inlet, S.C. to the Vineyard and then to Montauk Point.

The fundraiser, Mr. Nagler said, is part of a “25-year quest” to raise money through feats of endurance. Having previously completed other land-based journeys, Mr. Nagler undertook his first endurance paddleboarding trip in 2021, traveling from the mouth of the Chesapeake to Nantucket in order to support a Nantucket counseling center.

This new trip to the Vineyard is the culmination of 10 years of paddleboard training and expeditions, totaling about 55,000 miles on the water. He is expected to make landfall on the Vineyard sometime in August.

The elements have been at work. — Courtesy Adam Nagler

On the afternoon of July 18, he landed on Chincoteague Island, Va., after six days at sea on his 14-foot board.

“I barely know my name, hallucinating nicely,” he wrote in a status report sent to the Gazette.

With about 500 miles to go, Mr. Nagler has battled dagger-like grasses, bacterial infection, inclement weather and the mighty pull of the Gulf Stream. Since the beginning of his journey late last month, he has lost more than 30 pounds.

“I’m pretty jacked up,” said Mr. Nagler, speaking to the Gazette by phone while recuperating on Chincoteague. “This is my last pure Atlantic this year I’m going to max it out, really give it everything I’ve got and really make it memorable.”

Though he now lives in California, Mr. Nagler grew up on the East Coast, and has some familiarity with the Vineyard.

“I’ve definitely crash landed on the Vineyard a few times,” he said.

Mr. Nagler has visited the Western side of Martha’s Vineyard numerous times, using the Island as a link on training voyages for later endurance expeditions.

One of the most powerful breakthroughs in his training came when he first managed to paddle from Montauk to Noman’s Land.

“I came through a wall of pea soup fog...and all of a sudden, I was 20 yards off the rocks on the west side of Noman’s with 500 giant seals barking at me,” he recalled. “They literally escorted me for about two hours. They swam with me to make sure that I wouldn’t touch their island.”

The decision to use these trips to benefit mental health services, Mr. Nalger said, comes from his own struggles. Completing intense endurance journeys was a key piece of his working through his own emotional troubles and that inspired him to use the feats to benefit mental health services in places, such as the Vineyard, that have been an important part of his life.

“These are my kind of people, doing great work in an area I care about,” he said. “I wanted to impact someplace that really needed the funding.”

Beth Folcarelli, chief executive officer at Community Services, said it was an honor to have Mr. Nagler choose the Island nonprofit as the beneficiary of his latest trip.

“We’re so grateful for his commitment and look forward to welcoming him to the Vineyard,” she said.

After reaching the Vineyard, Mr. Nagler plans to continue on to Montauk. — Courtesy Adam Nagler

So far, strong currents have pulled Mr. Nagler significantly off course on two occasions.

The first, he admitted, was his own fault: he didn’t thoroughly study the currents of the Cape Fear River, resulting in him getting sucked in.

“I had to portage my stuff through swamps for hours and hours with oysters and just crazy, sharp, strong reed grass like knives,” he said. The journey on foot and the resulting lacerations landed him a nasty case of cellulitis and a three-day hospital visit.

The second detour, though, came as a freak nautical occurrence. An eddy, a massive whirlpool, kicked off from the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cape Hatteras pulled him 17 miles out to sea in severe weather conditions.

Compounding his troubles, Mr. Nagler missed a refill on his rations beforehand, saying he survived for three days on just three ginger candies.

The grueling ordeal, he said, was an exercise in challenging his mental toughness.

“At no time, did I ever question my ability to get through it,” he said. “If you can get through that, then you can get through almost anything.”

Having recently set off from Cape Henlopen in Delaware, Mr. Nagler said his leg hurts — he is scheduled for a hip replacement next year — and his heart aches — he is also scheduled for open heart surgery. Still, he is unflappable in his resolve.

“I’m just going to stay the course, stay focused and give everything I’ve got for the cause,” he said.

Donations to Mr. Nagler’s journey can be made at: and updates on his trip can be found at