By Pamela Burke
We’ve written about Cynthia Aguilar before on The Women’s Eye as she’s been trying to set a world record paddling from Cuba to Key West. On June 16 she did it in amazing time. This was her second attempt and she nailed it!
“You can fight back, keep paddlin’, and accomplish what your dreams and goals are.“
We wanted to check in with her to congratulate her and find out how she was able to paddle solo and prone 103.2 miles in 29 hours and 12 minutes. Wow, what an amazing journey across water!
EYE: How does it feel setting this paddling record?
Video of Cynthia’s first attempt before she tried it again
CYNTHIA: WAOO !!! LOL… Really does feel like Wao! I’m still speechless, very unreal and surreal. But happy and stoked and everything you can think of. This was the first solo prone paddleboard crossing nonstop of the Florida Straights from near Cuba to Key West for anyone ever.
EYE: How difficult was it this time compared to last?
CYNTHIA: This time everything went so perfect. My only job was to paddle. With the amazing crew and planning from them, there was nothing else for me to think of. So this time it really did feel easy but hard at the same time because at the end it was 103.2 miles of paddling.
EYE: What made you able to finish this time?
CYNTHIA: The people, everyone, the kids, all my followers and what happened last year. I needed to prove to everyone that after getting hit so hard my life and nature, you can fight back , keep paddlin’ and accomplish what your dreams and goals are.
EYE: How did you protect yourself from the jellies?
CYNTHIA: This time I wore sleeve that covered my arm. Sweet Waterwear custom made gear to protect me from them.
CYNTHIA: That’s the first question everyone asks me. Really I didn’t see any animals out there. But on this point I would love to say that on this trip Shark Saver and Keep Paddlin’ teamed up. Sharks are never an issue for me or anyone in my crew.
The ocean is their home, and it’s my temple. I’m more afraid for sharks then I’m of them. Shark populations, globally and in Florida, are in trouble. About 73 million sharks are fished out of our oceans every year. And sharks are the balance of our beautiful ocean.
EYE: What gave you the guts to try again?
CYNTHIA: Proving that you should never give up. I’m just trying to prove that anything is possible. Many people wait years to try to do a second attempt. But I couldn’t wait long for everyone to look at my example. I knew in my heart and soul that I needed to get back up and keep paddling. So I did!
EYE: When is your documentary coming out?
CYNTHIA: We are an in-house company and have a very low budget. This documentary is being made by our soul and love. So it may take a year or two to finish it right and to make sure we are going to spread the word that we want out there.
You will see everything from the bad to the good. We are not hiding anything and showing the stories of everyone who is part of this journey. It’s not only about me but a group of people with HOPE coming together to Make A Difference-one person at a time.
EYE: You may be thinking of your next goal. What might it be?
CYNTHIA: Yeaaa…. LOL . Anything is possible from here on with me and my crew. We have thought of Key West to Miami or to paddle around Florida. The possibilities are endless. I want to find something that could make an impact on people and a charity that would be a good pick for that journey. But for now my focus is on our non profit, Keep Paddlin’, and this amazing documentary “Dream Big.”
EYE: What was the toughest part of this whole experience? Were you unbelievably exhausted when you finished?
CYNTHIA: The toughest part was ending this journey, this whole experience with these amazing people on the boats, land and with everyone that helped me to make this happen. Our bond is forever, and now there’s an ending to it. It was sad. But we are family for life, and without my crew it would have never happen.
I really wasn’t that exhausted. My crew really made sure I ate and drank right and really took care of me. So I was OK when done. But the second day on land it really did hit me, and I felt dead tired and slept for a long time.
EYE: Were you happy with the money you raised? Will you be raising more for Make a Wish?
CYNTHIA: I know these days money is tight. We didn’t reach our goals. But once the documentary is done and we able to sell it , that’s what is going to go to Make A Wish of South Florida. We will not stop until we get the money we promised MAW, just like the paddle.
EYE: I am so happy for you that you and your crew made it. You all have incredible passion to make a difference and to pursue your dreams.