I am Cynthia Aguilar, Miami, Florida Native since 1983. Up until about a year ago, after working for over 14 years with City Of Miami Beach Ocean Rescue, everyone I work with thought I was Cuban.
In Miami, people tend to assume that if you are una latina caliente, you are Cuban. I am, in fact, Nicaraguan by descent, but Miamian by birth. My parents emigrated here from Nicaragua in the late ‘70s in order to escape war.
American, I am…and in Miami I still live…surrounded by water.
I have been drawn to the water for my entire life. I have been a swimmer for as long as I can remember. I recall swimming lessons at age 3 and swim team practice starting by age 5. Following my affinity for my life as a fish, I found my first water-related passion in water polo. I was a Four-Time MVP in Water Polo for my high school, and earned the same honors in Swimming.
After I graduated, I decided to make a career of the things I love-the ocean and swimming-two of the things which led me to the City of Miami Beach Ocean Rescue Division.
Having begun my career with Miami Beach Ocean Rescue at just 19, I was the youngest of all. Not only that, I was one of only three women at the time in a crew of nearly 100. Within that male dominated environment, I worked hard to prove myself every single day.
It was during my first few months working on Miami Beach that one of my supervisors introduced me to the prone paddleboard. Given that I was known for being up to any challenge, I took to it naturally and began competing. Needless to say, my speed in the water as a swimmer translated well to my speed on the water as a paddler.
My passion for paddling is a metaphor for my perspective on life. The idea of facing challenges one stroke at a time, no matter how the odds appear, is exactly how I wish to inspire others to live. That exact thinking led me to start a non-profit, Keep Paddlin’, which I managed for four years.
Today, I continue my work with Ocean Rescue as an EMT, mixing my time between tower surveillance and our rescue boat. When I am not at work, I am training hard to take on the next great challenge…one stroke at a time.
PADDLE CAREER HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2003 through 2015, Key West Classic-12 miles, Multiple 1st place finishes (10’6, Stock, and Unlimited)
- 2007, Bimini, Bahamas to Miami, Florida Solo Prone Paddleboard Crossing-19hours, 33minutes (fastest time recorded)
- 2007, Catalina Classic, Catalina, CA-32 Miles, Finisher
- 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015-Molokai 2 Oahu-32 miles, top Finish: 3rd place
- 2011, Cuba to Key West-103 Mile Solo Prone Paddleboard Crossing-29hours, 12mintues (only successful solo prone crossing to date)
- 2007, 2009, 2012, 2013, Jay Moriarty Memorial “Jay Race”, Santa Cruz, CA-12 Miles, Top Finish: 1st Place (Stock)
- 2013 Lifeguard Of The Year-State of Florida, Beach Patrol Chiefs Association
- 2013, Rock 2 Rock, Catalina to San Pedro, CA-22 miles, 2nd place