PADDLERS: Bill Whiddon + Thaddeus Foote
Miami paddlers Bill Whiddon and Thaddeus Foote made history when they became the the first to cross the Gulf Steam on standup boards, paddling from the Bahamas to Miami in 17 hours, 11 minutes and 43 seconds to raise awareness for the Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign. They battled rain squalls and searing heat to complete the 60-plus-mile journey in June.
PADDLERS: Carlton Ward, Joe Guthrie, Mallory Lykes Dimmit
Much of the Florida has been drained for agriculture or built up with theme parks and condos, so the bits of remaining habitat are especially important. That’s where the Florida Wildlife Corridor expedition comes in. Photojournalist Carlton Ward, biologist Joe Guthrie and conservationist Mallory Lykes Dimmit linked a wilderness corridor from the Everglades to the Okefenokee, paddling and hiking the length of Florida in a 100-day, 1,000-mile expedition that saw them custom-rig their 14-foot boards with extra tie-down straps to carry 50 pounds of camping gear.
PADDLER: Bart de Zwart
After paddling non-stop for a day and a half from Lowestoft, England, Maui’s Bart de Zwart reached Zandvoort, Holland in early June. de Zwart, originally from Holland, left Lowestoft on his 14′ Starboard at approximately 9:15 am Wednesday morning to begin his solo, unsupported crossing of the North Sea. This is the second year in row the distance paddler has been nominated. Last year, his Big Island to Kauai expedition took home top honors.
PADDLER: Michele Baldwin
Fighting stage 4 terminal cervical cancer, 45-year-old mother of three Michele Baldwin decided to standup paddle 700 miles down the holy Ganges River. Hoping to raise awareness to prevent HPV and cervical cancer—and $100k for the Global Initiative Against HPV And Cervical Cancer (GIAHC)—Michele paddled from northern India to the eastern city of Varanasi. After completing her pilgrimage, Michele returned home to New Mexico to spend her final days with her family. She died in February.
PADDLER: Ben Friberg
In June, Ben Friberg set the 24-hour standup distance record when he paddled 238 miles, riding the runoff of the Yukon River in the Northwest Territories. Friberg started at the north end of Lake Laberge and finished 24 hours later having set the Guinness World Record. Friberg’s goal was to finish at 200 miles when he reached the Ingersolle Islands but was able to surpass that by 38 miles.
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