A South Florida athlete from Fort Lauderdale will stand-up paddleboard from Cuba to Key West as she attempts to break the Guinness World Record.
At 7 a.m. June 26, Victoria Burgess will begin her endeavor to paddleboard through 110 miles of open waters in less than 30 hours. Burgess’ personal goal is under 25 hours, she said.
The current Guinness World Record for stand-up paddleboarding between Cuba and Key West — the Florida Straits — was set by Ben Friberg, who finished in 28 hours in 2013.
After four years of learning how to paddleboard, Burgess has become an award-winning competitor. She has completed several long-distance crossings in Hawaii, such as the 33-mile Molokai to Oahu race and the 27-mile Molokai and Maui race.
Burgess has decided to challenge herself to do something grander and closer to home.
“I’ve never done anything this long and facing the different elements that might happen — especially in the dark,” she said.
Burgess named her future journey Chica Libre Crossing — freedom girl — in hopes of inspiring others to accomplish incredible feats and promoting women to get out there and be proud of themselves, she said.
“Everyone has different limits,” she said. “I want to inspire people to push themselves.”
When Burgess is not training, she is a fire inspector for the fire department at Pompano Beach. She also surfs, rock climbs and does yoga in her spare time.
A safety crew — with the same captain as Friberg — and her boyfriend will follow her on a boat, keeping an eye on the waters, weather and sharks. A camera crew that will document her journey from Cuba to Key West will accompany Burgess.
Burgess is currently training at Lauderdale By The Sea and Fort Lauderdale beaches – building endurance for the long journey. The sungear for her journey will be sponsored by Bones Outfitters.
For more information on Victoria Burgess or the Chica Libre Crossing please visit: www.VictoriaBurgess.com