Lewis Pugh


About Lewis Pugh - Endurance Swimmer, UN Patron of the Oceans, Author and Inspirational Speaker:

Lewis Pugh is an extreme adventurer by any definition, an endurance swimmer and the UN Patron of the Oceans. As a maritime lawyer, an ocean advocate and pioneer swimmer - Lewis puts his hard learned lessons into the context of a corporate environment. Sharing his expertise with global leaders and audiences - his message is highly relevant, inspirational and, most importantly actionable. A number of favorite quotes from Lewis include:

  • “Impossible is NOT a fact - it’s an opinion”
  • “There is nothing more powerful than the made up mind”
  • “If we pass on an unsustainable environment to our children we have failed them”
  • “If you choose the right team members, you don’t have to lead them - you only need to point them in the right direction”

Lewis talks about the methods he uses: a clear vision, the right mind-set, choosing a strong team, meticulous preparation, never quitting - and having the flexibility to change when circumstances dictate. TED describes him as a “master story-teller.”

Lewis pioneers swims in the most vulnerable ecosystems on Earth to campaign for their protection. He was the first person to swim across the North Pole, and the first to swim the full length of the English Channel. He was also the first to complete a long distance swim in every ocean of the world. Lewis has been instrumental in protecting over 2 million km2 of vulnerable ocean - an area larger than Western Europe. His dream is to fully protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.

Lewis has received many awards for his work. He was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum; he was inducted into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame; and was awarded South Africa’s highest honour - the Order of Ikhamanga (Gold Class).

Lewis read law at Cambridge University.

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What Lewis Pugh Talks About:

Lewis’s ability to make his story matter has made him one of the world’s leading inspirational speakers.

As an ocean advocate and a pioneer swimmer, Lewis puts his hard-learned lessons into the context of a corporate environment. He shares the visualization that enabled him to undertake the first swim across the sub-zero waters of the North Pole – and he shares the “radical tactical shift” he used to complete the first swim across a glacial lake on Mt Everest.

Most importantly, he inspires people to reach for their dreams – and achieve their own impossible.

Lewis is often described as the “Sir Edmund Hillary of swimming”. He is the only person to have completed a long distance swim in every ocean of the world. To date, he has pioneered more swims around famous landmarks – than any other swimmer in history. Each of these feats was done to raise awareness about the vulnerability of our oceans and their importance to humanity.

And he’s not finished yet.


  • Vision
  • Leading Diverse Teams
  • Motivation
  • Creating a Culture of Excellence
  • Managing Change
  • Overcoming Obstacles
  • Resilience
  • Embracing Risk
  • Building a Sustainable Business

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 Recent Publications

Lewis gave the perfect talk: a little bit of action, some thinking outside the box, humbling words on the need to respect nature - a happy ending. A Hollywood scriptwriter could not have structured it better!

The Financial Times

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