Without a Paddle: Racing Twelve Hundred Miles Around Florida by Sea Kayak

Overview

As far as Warren Richey knew, his life was on course. A reporter with a beautiful wife and talented son, Richey couldn’t imagine how it could be any better....Then his marriage falls apart and he can’t imagine how it could be any worse.

The divorce leaves Richey questioning everything, while struggling to find a way forward. To get his bearings, he enters the first Ultimate Florida Challenge, an all-out twelve-hundred-mile kayak race ...

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Overview

As far as Warren Richey knew, his life was on course. A reporter with a beautiful wife and talented son, Richey couldn’t imagine how it could be any better....Then his marriage falls apart and he can’t imagine how it could be any worse.

The divorce leaves Richey questioning everything, while struggling to find a way forward. To get his bearings, he enters the first Ultimate Florida Challenge, an all-out twelve-hundred-mile kayak race around Florida.

The UFC is less of a race than it is a dare or a threat. The thirty-day deadline sets a grueling, twenty-four-hour-a-day pace through shark- , alligator- , and even python-infested waters. But those twelve hundred miles are only a fraction of a journey that pulls Richey back to when he was embedded with troops in Iraq, reporting on missing children, and hiking the mountains of Montana with his son, and shows him where he went wrong, where he went right, and how to do it better the second time around.

Warren Richey’s memoir Without a Paddle is a remarkable physical and emotional journey that cuts to the heart of what it means to be a man, a husband, and a father.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At its core, the idea of traveling 1,200 miles around the coast of Florida in a kayak sounds grueling--the organizers of the Ultimate Florida Challenge warn wouldbe entrants that "even if you are a wellprepared expert, you may die." But Richey, who writes for the Christian Science Monitor, shows in this fast-paced memoir that a persevering spirit can overcome all physical and mental exhaustion. Still feeling the effects of a divorce that threw his world into upheaval, Richey finds solace in his sea kayak and enters the competition, despite the objections of family and friends. Nearly every day and night, he encounters all possible obstacles: physical ailments (blisters, sore muscles, sleep deprivation), the threat of predators like alligators and pythons, and solitude while paddling through the night. On a diet consisting largely of bagels and Snickers bars, Richey travels on, battling himself and the biggest enemy of all: the clock, as the rules mandate the race be completed within 30 days. Much of the tale centers on his nautical journey, but Richey seamlessly weaves that with his heartbreak from divorce, the bond of a father and son, and moving on with a newfound love. By the end of this wonderfully uplifting book, Richey's trip has taken him well beyond the perimeter of the Sunshine State. (July)
From the Publisher

Advance Praise for Without a Paddle

“As in the best of adventure literature, the physical journey in Without a Paddle is merely a portal through which Richey guides the reader on a voyage across the ocean of the heart. Read it. Go with him. It's a trip you'll never forget.”
—Mark Jenkins, author of A Man’s Life: Dispatches from Dangerous Places

“In his great paddle around Florida, Warren Richey braced for battle against sharks, pythons, and crazed drunken motorboaters, but his most formidable foe turned out to be middle-aged self-doubt. This book is for anyone who believes in the redemptive value of hard physical challenge, and who believes that age is just a number.”
—Mark Obmascik, author of Halfway to Heaven: My White-knuckled—and Knuckleheaded—Quest for the Rocky Mountain High, winner of the 2009 National Outdoor Book Award

“Warren Richey—engaged in a grueling long-distance kayak race—has laid a coastal map of Florida over his inner struggle for a new life after the disappointment of a divorce. In the course of these pages, Richey measures himself against his competitors and the sea, and he considers what it means to love and be loved.”
—Lou Ureneck, author of Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska

“This is the best kind of book; the kind that makes every day magical. I loved it for its humor and humility, its wonderful parables and pitch-perfect storytelling, its journey of discovery within and without, and its elegant ending. Bravo, Warren Richey. Florida is lucky to have you.”
—Kim Heacox, author of The Only Kayak: A Journey in the Heart of Alaska

“Warren Richey wields a pen like he maneuvers his kayak—rapidly paced, lively, dipping between Florida lore, the wake of a failed marriage, the promise of love ahead, and the innumerable challenges of a race that can only be described as insane. A fun and invigorating ride."
—Franz Wisner, author of How the World Makes Love

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312630768
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

WARREN RICHEY's career as a journalist has taken him from his hometown paper in Red Bank, New Jersey, to assignments around the world. Currently with The Christian Science Monitor, he splits his time between Florida and Washington, D.C.

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Recommended

    Nicely written and keeps you glued to the text.
    Mr. Richey is very descriptive and makes you feel like you are in the boat with him. His sense of humor and personal interactions with his fellow racers blend well with the adventure.
    A good read from start to finish.

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  • Posted August 2, 2011

    Loved every word!

    I loved every piece of this book! As a Florida kayaker, I especially enjoyed following Sharkchow all the way around the state! I have kayaked or been to many of the exact spots he describes in the book. I can't even begin to fathom what he accomplished!! Truly AMAZING! And I thoroughly enjoyed reading about it. My excitement for his status in the race just continued to mount all the way to that last moment! The epilogue even touched me...right down to the last few words. If you live in Florida and especially if you kayak, this is a MUST READ. If not, you should read it anyways.

    I wish I could shake Sharkchow's hand!!

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    Posted April 19, 2011

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    Posted July 28, 2010

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    Posted January 11, 2011

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