Chica Libre SUP Crossing
There is a buzz going around the SUP community about the upcoming Chica Libre SUP Crossing – a Guiness Book of World Records first ever female solo attempt to standup paddle across the Straits of Florida from Cuba to Key West, Florida. Chica Libre is the brainchild of Victoria Burgess, a competitive surfer, Molokai to Oahu racer, and Sunshine SUP race co-host. Victoria, a south Florida native, has wanted to paddle the route for a while. She held onto her dream, started doing the research into the history of the Florida Straits and decided to plan her own crossing. About two months ago, the Guiness Book of World Records approved the crossing as a legitimate word record attempt. This was the sign Victoria needed and she’s been going full force ever since.
This is a tremendous endeavor not only to paddle, but also to organize. Victoria is a busy lady, racing and competing in surfing. She also works full-time as a firefighter and is pursuing her PhD. Once she decided to go for the record, she had to find the right crew. Victoria has a captain who knows the waters well, friends to support and paddle with her for motivation, a paramedic, and videographer. After researching weather patterns, she decided to set the official departure date for June 24th, 2018. This is when the winds should die down and she can take advantage of a full moon.
Financing the crossing
Another important part of planning is raising funds. Victoria decided that the crossings proceeds, after all expenses are paid, will go to support the Women’s Sports Foundation. She wants this paddle to be more than about a world record, it is also an opportunity to give back to an organization she feels strongly about. Victoria hopes her actions will encourage more women to get involved and become active in the paddling community, from newbies all the way up to Olympic athletes.
Chica Libre, Spanish for “free girl” is a symbol of strength and freedom for women to pursue and accomplish their dreams. It is hard work whether your goal is to paddle 100 miles or to graduate from school. Women are free to make that decision for themselves. “As long as you put your mind and heart into something, you can do it no matter what trials get in the way!” said Burgess.
We need more women to embrace this way of thinking and actively participate in sport. Sport teaches women to believe in themselves and their abilities. Victoria is putting herself out there after first standup paddling four years ago. She is testing herself, leading by example and is excited for the challenge. At lunch she squeezes in a Crossfit workout. She also runs 3-6 miles a few times each week and of course she paddles. A lot!
Mental training is also a huge component for this solo mission. Skills she learned playing softball and being a firefighter help her stay focused in times of need.
Long story short, Victoria is a go getter. She doesn’t want to be 80 years old and have regrets. There’s no time to wait. If you want something, do it now. Making the attempt to paddle the 100 miles is an accomplishment in and of itself. It will also be a process of discovery simply going through it. Victoria hopes to inspire other women to go after their dream and get women stoked on SUP.
We here at SUP Examiner fully sport Victoria Burgess with this dream. We look forward to sharing her progress and developing content on sports nutrition for ultra-endurance paddling. We wish you all the very best for Chica Libre Victoria!
To find out more about Victoria, to donate to the cause, or buy a T-shirt visit: