by John Bell
In the early hours of Saturday morning, June 9th, watermen Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote will push off from the docks of the historic Big Game Club in Bimini launching the first ever attempt to stand-up paddle (SUP) across the Gulf Stream to Miami—a grueling 17-hour, 48 mile non-stop adventure.
Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote
Armed only with a board, a paddle and their wits, the paddle boarders will endure one of the earth’s most powerful oceanic currents, exposure to shifting weather conditions, extreme isolation, and all risks of open ocean navigation in order to reach their destination.
The cause behind the 'Bimini to Miami Blue Water Challenge' is to raise awareness for Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign to reduce plastics in the ocean. The athletes, weather permitting, will depart Bimini Saturday and continuously paddle from 3:30 am to approximately 5:30 pm.
Whiddon, 58, a creative art director, and Foote, 38, an environmental educator, both grew up in Miami and are passionate about water sports and coastal conservation.
'Nothing of this scale has ever been attempted before, much less successful, so we really are pushing the limits of the sport,' states Whiddon.
'This crossing is a great opportunity to highlight the impact that plastics are having on our world’s ocean and how our actions, as a society, can make such a big difference,' said Foote.
Aerial of Bimini - Wahoo Smackdown III
C4 Waterman, www.c4waterman.com <http://www.c4waterman.com>, a Hawaii-based adventure sports equipment company is supporting the crossing by supplying the paddlers with the innovative X-Wing Paddle. C4 is also dressing the paddlers from head-to-toe in their new line of performance apparel.
About Sufrider Foundation
Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organizations dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Local 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.
About The Bimini Big Game Club
The historic Bimini Big Game Club, which reopened in the summer of 2010, is located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay. The resort currently features 51-rooms and a 75-slip marina capable of accommodating boats up to 145 feet in length. For more information, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.