As a Miami Beach lifeguard, Cynthia Aguilar spends most of her day around the ocean. But on September 10th, she'll find herself in the ocean, on a paddleboard, for 36 hours as she tries to set a world record for paddling non-stop from Cuba to Key West.
"The first reaction is always, 'Why? Are you crazy?'" laughed Aguilar.
And yes, Aguilar might be a little crazy, but that's not why she's doing this. Her goal is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and prove that anything is possible.
"I've learned to say, 'Why not?'" said Aguilar. "This is the talent that I know how to use for good, so why not?"
In 2007, Aguilar paddleboarded from Bimini to Dania Beach -- a total of 60 miles. But this trip, starting in international waters off the coast of Cuba, is 130 miles long.
"There's no doubt in my mind I can do this," she said.
Aguilar expects rough waters during her trek, but has a crew that's helping her navigate a path that's as calm as possible. Her crew will follow her in a 75-foot yacht. But in order to set the record, she can't leave the board, so her crew will deliver food and drinks along the way. But what about sleep?
"No sleep. I'm going straight through," she said. "It's only one night of sleep. What's one night?"
The 26-year-old has been training eight months for this. But she knows that nothing can truly prepare her for the mental challenge of being alone on a paddleboard for 36 hours. So her motivation is the kids whose wishes will come true thanks to her paddle for charity.
"All their stories and how they've said they're inspired by me, that's how I'm gonna do this," she said.
Aguilar is so confident about the paddle, she says that part is a piece of cake. The hardest part is raising money. Her goal is $100,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation and if you'd like to help, go to her website: keeppaddlin.org
She's also hosting a Bon Voyage fundraising party at Quicksilver on Lincoln Road this Thursday, August 26th, from 8 p.m. to midnight.