HAVANA – Three US women, all professional windsurfers, began on Thursday a windsurfing trek from Havana to Key West, a journey they expect to complete in about 20-25 hours and which they are staging as an example of the love and friendship between the Cuban and US peoples.
Aimee Spector, Karen Kim Figueroa and Cynthia Aguilar will rotate – each taking turns of two hours – paddling a surfboard 3.65 meters (12 feet) long and specially created for this project, while normal surfboards are about 305 cm long.
“We’re all human beings, we’re family. If there’s something we’ve felt in Cuba it’s been love and compassion, and those feelings are the ones we want to transmit with this test,” Aguilar told reporters before setting forth from the Hemingway Marina in the Cuban capital.
The project is part of the “Cold Hands Paddle” initiative, which seeks to raise awareness and collect funds for the charitable organizations Ocean of Hope – which helps people with sarcoma, a type of cancer – and Special Olympics Florida, which is devoted to helping athletes with disabilities.
The women said that they are undertaking the journey “for the children and the athletes who need that type of medical treatment” because “we’re all human beings in the same world,” regardless of the political relations between countries.
The trio were referring to the current state of relations between Cuba and the US, which after two-and-a-half years of joint work to build political ties are now at a moment of uncertainty given the threats of President Donald Trump to reverse part of the rapprochement process.
“This is an event of human beings. Three ‘wonderful women’ who are bringing a message of friendship. So that the politicians see us as human beings, as people (and that) we have feelings of love, friendship and reunion between the peoples,” said the head of the Havana marina, Luis Miguel Diaz-Escrich.
The three athletes were scheduled to begin their trip last Tuesday, but they had to postpone their departure due to high winds and waves, something that they were on the verge of doing again on Thursday when the day dawned under rainy skies.
Ultimately, however, the sun came out and wind conditions improved, and the trio decided to undertake the journey, expecting to encounter their main challenge in the middle of the trip when they pass through the Gulf Stream.