Miami Watermen Complete First Ever Crossing of Gulf Stream on Stand-up Paddleboards
2012 JUN 29 (VerticalNews) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Ecology, Environment & Conservation -- Starting with a first paddle at the docks of the Bimini Big Game Club Resort & Marina to a final stroke landing just north of Haulover Beach in Miami, Miami Watermen Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote made history Saturday, June 9th, becoming the first to cross the Gulf Steam on stand-up paddleboards.
The pair, paddling to raise awareness for Surfrider Foundation's Rise Above Plastics campaign, battled rainsqualls, searing summer heat and the natural northern drift of the Gulf Stream, to complete the 60-plus mile epic journey in 17 hours, 11 minutes and 43 seconds.
"It was paddle, hydrate, eat and paddle more," said the 58-year-old Whiddon. "We battled a tough 40 minute squall within the first hour of leaving the Bahamas and the seas went from flat to three-foot swells breaking into us."
To counteract the north pull of the Gulf Stream, Whiddon and Foote, 38, started a heading southwest out of Bimini and then after ten hours turned the course more due westerly that increased speed and pushed to the north.
"We only had one large fish encounter when we woke up a huge sun fish basking on the surface," Whiddon recalled. "The fins on the fish were at least two feet long. We also had a school of dolphin swimming under our boards for a longtime, using the shade for some relief from the blistering sun."
The cause behind the "Bimini to Miami Blue Water Challenge" is to raise awareness for Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics campaign to reduce plastics in the ocean. Surfrider is pushing for Florida legislature to adopt the DEP's Recycling Recommendation Report and new statewide recycling goal of 75% to be achieved by 2020.
"We're living in a throwaway culture fueled by our misguided dependence on single-use plastics," said Holly Parker, Surfrider Foundation Florida Regional Coordinator. "If we don't make a conscious choice to stop this destructive practice then we threaten the health of our oceans, ourselves, and our children."
C4 Waterman, www.c4waterman.com, a Hawaii-based adventure sports equipment company supported the crossing by supplying the paddlers with the innovative X-Wing Paddle and performance apparel.
The historic Bimini Big Game Club www.biggameclubbimini.com located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay supported start logistics. The resort features 51-rooms and a 75-slip marina capable of accommodating boats up to 145 feet in length. Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world's oceans, waves and beaches. Miami Chapter, www.surfridermiami.org, efforts include lobbying for the enforcement of litter laws, beach dune restoration and K-8 environmental education. For more information on the Rise Above Plastics campaign visit http://florida.surfrider.org/campaigns/flrap. Note to Editors: High Resolution Photos Available Upon Request.
Keywords for this news article include: Surfrider Foundation.
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