U.S. musician becomes first person to paddle board from Cuba to Florida
A musician from the U.S. has just become the first ever man to cross the waters that separate the U.S from Cuba on a paddle board. Last Friday, guitarist Ben Friberg successfully paddle-boarded from a port in Havana to Key West in Florida after a 28-hour journey.
Ben Friberg, a guitarist from the U.S. has become the first ever man to attempt and successfully accomplish the enormous feat of crossing the Cuba-Florida stretch on a paddle board.
The 35-year-old arrived at his destination in Florida last Friday after a long and exhausting 28-hour journey along the Caribbean Sea. For most of the trip he stood on his paddle board and had to manage his pain throughout the arduous 111-mile-long journey.
He was accompanied by a support boat with his father being one of the crew members giving him support and encouraging him. The rest of the crew provided navigational advice as well as nutrition.
It took Ben Friberg a whole year to secure permission for the trip (currently American citizens aren't allowed to take holidays to Cuba unless it is for cultural or educational purposes and they require a special license to visit the island under the "people to people" travel scheme).
After leaving Cuba's Marina Hemingway headed for Florida's Key West, the Tenessee musician embarked on a daunting adventure where he encountered rough seas and physical challenges but despite all the obstacles he soldiered on and arrived safely to shore, though dehydrated and visibly exhausted, but otherwise healthy.
For the trip he wore protective clothing to shield him from the Caribbean sun – long socks, a long-sleeved white T-shirt and peaked cap.
Just before leaving Havana, Friberg announced that he was attempting the crossover "to promote peace and understanding between Cuba and the US and to promote a healthy lifestyle."
In the past swimmers have attempted numerous times to cross the 111-mile distance that separates the two neighbouring countries but have had to abandon the effort after painful jellyfish stings and difficult swimming conditions due to choppy waters. Such was the case for Australian endurance swimmer Chloe McCardel who attempted the swim just last June and 61-year-old, Diana Nyad who attempted it for a fourth time in August 2012 and also failed.
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