Taco Bay, BaracoaTaco Bay, Baracoa, Cuba

In celebration of normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, the Friendship Association created a new program series: Across the Straits. Musicians Across the Straits was our first event – a smashing success! With My SUP Across the Straits was our second in the series.

The Friendship Association organized an international exhibition of Stand Up Paddling (SUP) held in Baracoa, Cuba, the end of December 2016. SUP lovers and surfers brought boards and paddles to Cuba and shared this delightful sport with our nearest neighbors to the south.

The eight-day event included stand-up paddle boarding in coves, bays, rivers, in and out of mangroves, and canyons. Each day we explored a different location and some of Cuba’s most exquisite natural landscapes. Each day’s sporting event concluded with delicious native dishes prepared by local people living in or around the venue. Surfers were able to experiment eastern Cuba’s early morning surf.

This was not a competition. It was an exhibition, and an experiment in sharing of our equipment, talents, and in making new friends.

We hope this will be the first of many SUP events. Cuba holds a wealth of beautiful rivers, lakes and bays, waiting to be paddled! We are already planning the second annual With My SUP Across the Straits to be held appropriately in the infamous Bay of Pigs!!!

ToaRio Toa, Baracoa, Cuba