Lewis Pugh London, UK / Cape Town, South Africa
- Maritime lawyer and pioneer swimmer
- Young Global Leader, World Economic Forum (2010); United Nations, Patron of the Oceans (2013)
- Lived, studied and worked in both developed and developing economies
Lewis Pugh is one of the world’s leading inspirational and leadership speakers and an authority on how to achieve the “impossible”. He was the first person to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world. He was the first to undertake a swim across the icy waters of the North Pole and the first to swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest. In a career spanning 27 years the maritime lawyer has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks than any other swimmer in history.
In 2016 Lewis was instrumental in raising awareness and campaigning successfully for the creation of the Ross Sea Marine Protection Area. Following this he was named in the 2017 Times Alternative Rich List which acknowledges wealth beyond material wealth.
In 2014, Lewis became the first person to undertake a long distance swim in each of the seven ancient seas: the Mediterranean, Adriatic, Aegean, Black, Red, Arabian and North Sea. This was to highlight the need for, and importance of, Marine Protected Areas on the global agenda.
Lewis is a vivid storyteller; over 2.5 million people have viewed his TED talks. His ability to make his story matter has made him one of the most sought after speakers in the world. He talks about the methods he uses to undertake swims, which were deemed “impossible” – choosing the right team, meticulous preparation, the right mind-set, never quitting, and changing when circumstances dictate. Most importantly, he talks about having a driving purpose, which for him is to protect our oceans.
Lewis has received numerous awards, including France and South Africa’s highest honours. In 2010, the World Economic Forum named him a Young Global Leader. In 2013, the United Nations appointed him “Patron of the Oceans”. In the same year, he was also inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame. His first book “Achieving the Impossible” (Simon & Schuster, 2010) is an international best-seller. Lewis is also the author of “21 Yaks and a Speedo” (Jonathan Ball, 2013). The “21 Yaks” collected here are the key lessons Lewis took home from his expeditions.