Sailing to freedomâ€¦
One day in April 1994, Alex Morales left the coast of Cuba for the last time to sail to Americaâ€¦ And to make it across this dangerous stretch of water, only one solution, windsurf it ! Now, some 13 years later, Alex Morales talks us through his adventure, and how it affected his passion for a sport of which he is now one of his adoptive countryâ€™s most fervent activistsâ€¦
Windsurfjournal.com : How and when did you discover windsurfing ?
Alex Morales : Probably in 1982 or so, I was sailing, I was sailing Optimist and I saw these windsurfers passing by. That was so cool !
WJ : Was windsurfing a big sport in Cuba ?
AM : No really, not so many people were able to buy the gear. That is what happens when you live in a commie country.
WJ : How and how long did you plan the crossing of the Florida Straits ?
AM : The reality is first I tried twice with a sailboat and a motorboat and it didnâ€™t work. Being on the Cuban National Windsurfing Team in the early nineties, I knew that I could do it with a windsurfing board. I sewed a custom sail from a 7.3 Lechner sail and a 5.7 wave sail and a Bic Reggae. I waited for April for the wind to be right and consistent. Sailing 7 hours a day, hiding the preparations with training for the national team. The thing I worried about was something breaking or the rain shutting the wind down. So I took spare parts, I almost took a spare boom.
WJ : Can you tell us about your incredible crossing ?
AM : I left at ten to avoid the coast guard. I plotted their patrol routes and with the windsurferâ€™s speed I was outside Cuban waters without being spotted. Having no doubts in my mind that I was going to make it, I went for it. 128 miles from my home to Florida. The Straits had great rollers that never broke, it was a tight reach. The water was a beautiful dark clear blue and it was extra salty as well.
WJ : What things are you the most proud of ?
AM : Promoting windsurfing races in Miami and all over the USA.
WJ : Can you tell our readers all over the world something about windsurfing in Miami ?
AM : Miami is really exciting, a lot of people from different backgrounds gather at the beach every weekend to try the new equipment or simply to do fun races. Windsurfing is definitely growing in Miami with more energy and passion than ever.
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