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Women paddle from Cuba to Florida, set record

July 11, 2003 10:39 IST
Four women took turns paddling 5.5-metre glass fiber boards across the Florida Straits, becoming on Thursday the first all-women paddleboard team to complete the crossing from Cuba to Florida

The Millennium Woman Paddleboard Team arrived in Key West, Florida, hungry, tired and queasy 25 hours and 44 minutes after setting out from the Hemingway Marina west of Havana on Wednesday. They battled 3-metre waves that made them seasick and unable to eat anything during their 179-km journey.

"I think I'm going to go have a really big feed, have a nice shower and get in a nice bed," Australian team member Hayley Bateup said shortly after the team's time was certified by a judge from the Guinness Book of Records.

Also on the team were South Africans Jenna Worlock and Nikki Mocke and Brazilian-born Aline Paterson, who lives in Florida.

Paddleboarders sit or kneel on a glass fiber board, a cross between a surfboard and a kayak, and paddle with their hands and arms. During the relay event, one paddled, while the other three rested on a boat that accompanied them.

The women were trying to beat the men's paddleboard record for the 112-mile route -- 20 hours and two minutes, set by a four-man team in 2001.

They fell shy of that mark but were the first female paddleboarders to complete the dangerous crossing frequently attempted by Cubans leaving the communist-run island on boats, rafts and inner tubes.

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