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Would You Paddle Board from The Bahamas to Florida?

Trisha Michelle Set For the 80-Mile Crossing for CF

Paddle Board from The Bahamas to Florida

I like paddleboarding, the Bahamas, and Florida, but I don’t want to paddle board from the Bahamas to Florida. On June 23, Trisha Michelle of Orlando will do precisely that in noble support of the cystic fibrosis community.

The 80-mile Crossing for CF has been raising funds and awareness for CF since 2013, inspired by the story of Piper, daughter of event founder Travis Suit. Paddlers will attempt the 80-mile crossing from Bimini, Bahamas to Lake Worth Beach, Florida. The journey will take about 13 to 18 hours depending on the elements and the paddler.

Paddle Board from The Bahamas to Florida

First Crossing But Not Her First Rodeo

It’s one thing to contribute to an important cause and another to risk your well-being. This is Trish’s first attempt at The Crossing but she’s no novice. She’s been paddling for three years and preparing for the event since she signed up last summer. Working on speed, endurance and skills particular to paddlers is part of her training in addition to surfing, running and diet. 

Trish is a member of SUP and surf clubs and a regular competitor throughout the state. She’s trained in the heat as well as the cold and rain, but not much can prepare you for an 80-mile paddle in the ocean.

“This is a crazy challenge for sure and I’ll see how my training pays off,” she says. “It’s for a fantastic cause and so worth it.”

Paddle 80 Miles for Cystic Fibrosis

When she’s not on the water, Trish is the creative director for an Orlando-based tech company. She is partly inspired to paddle by her appreciation of Florida’s natural beauty. She is also a long-time painter (acrylics), reflecting the inspiration she gains from her travels on the water.

“I think many people don’t take the opportunity to enjoy the environment around them,” she says. “I didn’t when I was younger. I try to not only take in the beauty around me and enjoy it while I’m out in nature but reflect upon it at home, recreating those experiences through my art.”

Trisha Michelle Crossing for CF
Trisha Michelle and Yulia Piatek (Team Plankton)

The 80-Mile Crossing for CF

The Crossing is a competitive race with 13 categories and prizes. These include individual men and women and two and four-person relays. Trish is part of a competitive relay team with partner Yulia Piatek. Dories, kayaks, canoes, surf skis and all sizes of paddling vessels are eligible. 

Each participant sets a $2,000 goal through individual fundraising pages. Money raised benefits the Piper's Angels Foundation, which helps those affected by CF. To date, Trish has almost achieved her goal and is adding to it. In addition, participants must pay for a boat and support team. 

Travis Suit created The Crossing in 2011 after then-4-year-old Piper was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cystic fibrosis. He made the inaugural crossing in 2013 with four friends, and the event has grown each year since. 

Piper's Angels Foundation

What is Cystic Fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disorder that damages the lungs, digestive system and other organs. Secretions such as mucus, sweat, and digestive fluids become thick and block passageways in the lungs and pancreas. 

People with CF can lead normal lives but require lots of daily medications and treatments. Improvements have been made in the screening and treatment of the disorder. Still, more needs to be known about CF and how to make life better for those afflicted, as well as their families.

“From expensive yet lifesaving medication to hotel stays near hospitals to support at home, cystic fibrosis families need help,” Travis said in a 2023 press release. “In recent years, the lifespan for those with cystic fibrosis has greatly expanded due to new medications, as well as research showing the benefits of fresh, clean air and salt air. But there are so many families in the world, who don’t have access to medication, advanced medical care, and even clear air.”

Since 2013, the Crossing for CF has raised more than $3 million with the help of about 800 paddlers, 900 volunteers and 1,200 crew members in support. The event takes place from June 19 to 24. More than 200 participants took part in 2023 and Piper’s Angels was able to assist 204 families.

Trish is fundraising through friends, watersports organizations and social media. To donate directly to Piper’s Angels go to Trisha's Crossing for CF or GoFundMe pages to contribute to her safety boat support costs.



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