US athlete wants to promote better US-Cuba relations
HAVANA TIMES — A US athlete today began a journey estimated at 20 hours to try to cross the Florida Strait from Cuba to Key West paddling on a surfboard.
Benjamin Schiller Friberg, 35, jumped into the water with his board in the Marina Hemingway on the west side of Havana on Thursday, to try to cross the strait that separates Cuba from the United States rowing while standing on his board.
The trip seeks to “promote friendship between the peoples of Cuba and the United States, and promote a healthy and active life among people”, Schiller told the Cuban News Agency.
The idea is to cross about 100 miles (about 170 kilometers) separating the Cuban coast from Key West in about 20 hours and arrive at his destination in the early hours of Friday (local time).
Schiller said the voyage also seeks to impose a record for “paddleboarding”, rowing while standing on a surfboard.
A catamaran with a team of specialists is escorting Schiller on his journey through the waters of the Atlantic.
Attempts to cross the symbolic form about 100 miles between Cuba U.S. have recently become an obsession for extreme sports enthusiasts.
In mid-June, the Australian Chloë McCardel tried unsuccessfully to become the first person to cross the Florida Strait swimming without the protection of a shark cage.
McCardel, 28, had to give up her attempt after 11 hours, after suffering from jellyfish stings.
The veteran US swimmer Nyad, 63, and Australian Penny Palfrey also failed in the last two years with attempts to swim from Cuba to Florida.
The Australian Susie Maroney was the first to cover the distance swimming in 1997, although she did it protected by a shark cage.