Stand-Up Paddleboarder Embarks on Cuba To Florida Keys Voyage

KEYS (CBSMiami/FKNB) – As of yet, nobody has ever stand-up paddleboarded the crossing from Cuba to the Florida Keys. On Thursday, a 35-year-old from Tennessee set out from Cuba in hopes of being the first person to do so.

Ben Friberg, a musician from Tennessee, began his voyage around noon, leaving from the Marina Hemingway near Havana.

According to the Key West National Weather Service, Friberg’s journey to Key West will be about 110-miles.

Cynthia Aguilar, a Miami Beach lifeguard, in 2011 made the crossing on a paddleboard, but did so lying down (prone position). Also, her trip began approximately 14-miles off the Cuban coast because she could not obtain a secure a visa from Cuban officials.

Friberg’s Cuba-to-Key West paddleboarding venture is not his first long-distance trip. In June of 2012, he paddled 238 miles down the Yuckon River in Canada’s Yukon Territory.

He hopes to complete the trip in less than 24 hours, but unlike the Yukon River trek, he likely will be in choppier waters and will need to compensate for the Gulf Stream current.

Friberg’s, a Chattanooga resident, support team includes a boat with a captain, a cook, navigator, medic and additional assistants.

“The Florida Keys News Bureau contributed to this report.”

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