Sunday, March 9, 2014

Without A Paddle

Without A Paddle: Racing Twelve Hundred Miles Around Florida by Sea Kayak.
Written by Warren Richey ( 2010, 338pp., pub by. St. Martin’s Press, NY.)

Warren Richey competed in the Ultimate Florida Challenge in 2006. This is his account of that event, a 1,200 mile race around the State of Florida in a kayak, including a 40-mile portage. To get a full appreciation of the event, start by reading the Watertribe’s outline of the event at:

The challenge is as advertised---ultimate. Richey averaged a paddle of 60 miles per day, and won the race with a finish time of 19 days, 6 hours, and 48 minutes, a full week and a half ahead of the deadline. His final push to the finish from Cedar Key to Tampa was a nonstop 124 mile paddle, which he completed in 30 hours and 18 minutes.

There’s really nothing I can add beyond the above, nor should I try. It’s a great read and well worth your time. I usually try to give a fairly comprehensive outline of a book, but this is his story, and I’ll leave the story telling to the author.

As anyone who has done long paddles knows, the one thing that gets used almost as much as your shoulders is your mind. It never stops. Sometimes you may even tell your head to just “shut up!” Through frustration, confusion, disorientation, sleep deprivation and exhaustion, your mind is the constant companion that just never stops. Richey includes some of his reflections. Some are about regrets, accomplishments, about whether or not he’s about to die, and what he’d like to do at the end of the trip if he survives. It is a read you won’t regret. Maybe you’ll even sign on with Watertribe yourself


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