Paddle Board to Key West from Cuba
Women Quit Bid to Paddle to Key West
Fri Jul 26, 2002
KEY WEST, Fla. (Reuters) - Half way across the Florida Straits, bad weather
forced four American women to abandon their attempt to paddle to Key West
from Cuba with their hands, on an 18-foot board.
The woman had hoped to break a men's world record set last year of 20 hours
and two minutes for the 112-mile voyage.
But they gave up Thursday about halfway across because of storms and
dangerous lightning, organizers said. The captain of the support boat made the
decision to pull them out the water.
The four would have been the first women paddleboarders to make the
dangerous crossing frequently attempted by Cubans leaving the communist-run
island on rafts and even inner tubes.
The team was led by Ramona d'Viola, 43, of Santa Cruz, California and
included Brazilian -born Aline Paterson, 27, from Deerfield
Beach; Montreal-born Christine McCrady, 28; Kelley Jo Helt, 25, originally from
Pennsylvania; and, alternate April Noon, 23, from Fort Lauderdale.
Wooden paddleboards were first used by watermen in Hawaii and were the
precursor to the modern surfboard. Paddleboarding is a fast growing sport in the
United States today.
The sleek boards, made of fiberglass, can range from a 10-foot sprint board to
open water boards of up to 19 feet in length.
Paddlers lay prone or sit on their knees and only use their hands and arms to