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Monday, June 12, 2017

Oru Kayaks to Attempt First Solo Crossing From Cuba to Key West by Kayak

The team at Oru Kayaks is getting ready for an epic paddling adventure. In July, the company will test its unique, origami-inspired kayaks on a record setting attempt at the first solo crossing from Cuba to Florida, overcoming some significant challenges along the way. That crossing has been done on stand-up paddleboards and tandem kayaks, but it has yet to be completed by solo paddlers in their own individual boats. 

The journey is expected to begin in Havana and end in Key West, covering some 103-miles in between. The solo paddlers are expected to take roughly 30-40 hours to cross that distance, spending the entire time in the cockpit of their boats. Along the way they'll be facing potentially poor weather, rough seas, sharks, and unpredictable currents, as well as other hazards.

The team will attempt the crossing in Oru's new Coast XT, a 16' (4.8 meter) long expedition boat built for use out on the ocean. The Coast can carry up to 400 pounds, offers 180 liters of storage, and is designed to be stable enough for open water crossings. But, just like every other Oru boat, this kayak comes apart, and folds up into a relatively small and easy to carry box too. 

A few weeks back I had a chance to travel to Oregon to take an Oru kayak (the Bay ST) on a test paddle down the John Day River. (Read my thoughts here.) These boats are certainly intriguing, and are versatile enough to be used in a variety of situation. I happen to love their ability to be packed away in a closet and carried in the trunk of a car, only to be unfolded and up and on the water in a matter of minutes. This crossing from Cuba to Florida will be a great test of their abilities and will demonstrate just how well made these boats truly are. This won't be a walk in the park however, so it should be interesting to see how the expedition unfolds. 

I'll keep an eye on the team's progress in July as they get started. It should be a fun trip to follow along with. Good luck to the entire team!

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