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Diana Nyad’s Courageous Attempt at her ‘Xtreme’ Dream

Diana Nyad attempting marathon Cuba to Florida swim,2012/Photo Florida Keys News Bureau, Christ Barli

Diana Nyad attempting marathon Cuba to Florida swim/Photo: Florida Keys News Bureau, Christi Barli

By Pamela Burke/August 23, 2012

Hats off to Diana Nyad for her amazingly gutsy attempt to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys!  Can you imagine anyone at any age attempting this dangerous swim through shark-infested waters inhabited by jellyfish with 10-foot-long tentacles?  This 63-year-old marathon swimmer never flinched nor turned back, even after three previous attempts and knowing full well the challenges ahead of her.   [Read more…]

Cynthia Aguilar Sets Record Paddling Nonstop from Cuba to Key West

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.

Cynthia Aguilar Record

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 posterEYE: And did you see sharks?

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!

Cynthia Aguilar

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.

Cynthia Aguilar Second race

People congratulate Cynthia at the end of the paddle

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.

Cynthia Aguilar

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.

Cynthia Aguilar

Women’s Eye Reflections For The New Year

2011 Image for New Year

As 2011 begins, it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on some of the ideas and words of wisdom from our EYE Interviews and the women who were kind enough to share their views during the past months. You may find inspiration or food for thought here for the New Year…

Vendela VidaVendela Vida

“After we left the realm of school, we missed the constant conversations about literature. Starting ‘The Believer’ was a way to continue to have those conversations—both with each other, and with our writers and readers—about books old and new, and about artists and thinkers…”



Sally DominguezSally Dominguez

“I never set out intentionally to be an inventor, but I have a constant curiosity about why things are the way they are. I’m always seeing unconventional solutions to everyday problems…The excitement and ability to change ways people live inspires me.”


Sandy Foster

Sandy Foster

“It’s a balm for the spirit to have a place where I’m free to do what I want, like a tree house you run to as a kid and pull up the ladder once inside. Any able-bodied person can build their own sanctuary, providing they have the location, money, time, and tools to do it.”



Shannon HayesShannon Hayes

“I remember one bright, clear August day, standing on a ladder painting the top of someone’s pergola, marveling that I was a newly minted ‘Dr. Hayes,’ and while my grad school peers were settling into their new offices, I was out under a cloudless blue sky, painting for $10/hr. I decided that I had the better deal.”



Cynthia AguilarCynthia Aquilar

“‘KEEP PADDLIN’ !!! Never stop! When things are going bad, there’s something good to come. It’s all about how you handle it. That’s what makes you.”


More reflections to come another day

Update: Cynthia Aguilar On Her Recent Risky Attempt to Paddle From Cuba to Key West

Cynthia Paddling to Key West

Cynthia Paddling to Key West

Cynthia Aguilar’s valiant attempt to set a world paddleboarding record from Cuba to Key West in thirty-six hours came to abrupt end in September after paddling solo in the water for 17 hours. You can read about her preparation for the trip to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation in this EYE interview.

When I heard that Cynthia didn’t make it all the way, I wanted to find out just what happened in the unpredictable Gulf Stream and how dangerous it was. She told me what made her reluctantly decide to get out of the water before reaching Key West and gave me some exclusive photos that you’ll see in her documentary coming out next year when she tries again. The woman is unstoppable! [Read more…]

Cynthia Aguilar Attempts To Set New World Paddleboarding Record– Cuba To Key West

Cynthia Aguilar tried to do something that no other paddleboarder has been able to accomplish. On Sept. 10th, this 26-year-old ocean lifeguard from Miami Beach attempted the first solo paddle from Cuba to Key West to see if she could set a world’s record and raise $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


A film about her experience “Dream Big” is scheduled to be released in May, 2011.

When I heard about Cynthia’s tremendous determination and her love of paddleboarding, I knew I needed to learn more. The sport seems particularly strenuous to me and especially tough in the deepest waters of the Gulf Stream. What is it that makes a person set an amazing goal like this and how does she prepare for it?

” I do it by paddling 45 miles, running, spinning and doing weights. I believe I have been training for this day my whole life.”

Cynthia explained why she’s taken on this unique challenge and what KEEP PADDLIN’ is all about… [Read more…]