A South Florida athlete is balancing her day job with chasing her world-record dreams to paddleboard across the Florida Straits to Cuba this summer.
Victoria Burgess has been paddleboarding for four years and is a world-class competitor. This is not her day job, but it is something she can't resist.
"I just really want to see how much I can push myself, especially mentally,” said the 34-year-old fire inspector from Pompano Beach. “I wish it was my full time gig.”
Come June, the 14-year veteran of the department plans to attempt what no woman has ever done before – paddleboard from Cuba to Key West.
“Pretty much everyone, they think I'm crazy, I think. But they think it's cool, too,” Burgess said.
In 2013, Diana Nyad swam that 110-mile distance before reaching Key West on her fifth try. Burgess hopes to complete her crossing on her first. (A man from Tennessee paddleboarded the distance in 28 hours in 2013.)
"I've been doing a lot of preparation for it physically, mentally. I train on the paddle board. I run. I do Crossfit. I added some yoga for flexibility and meditations,” she said.
She doesn't expect to make a penny from the venture as she trains twice a day, six times a week. But if she paddles her way in under 30 hours, she'll land in the Guinness Book of World Records. She's raising $15,000 through a GoFundMe account to make it happen and she hopes her effort will make something else happen, too.
"I hope it inspires everybody, especially women to just go out and just kind of push for your dreams,” Burgess said.