ESPN SportsNation: Chat with Tom Jones
Tom Jones Jones will paddle board from Key West to NYC.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, we've got an extreme athlete in every sense of the word, Tom Jones, coming to SportsNation to chat about his latest stunt -- paddle boarding from Key West, Fla. to New York City.
Jones, who, back in 2000, ran 120 marathons in 120 consecutive days, has already paddle boarded the entire coast of California and will attempt a new world record with his newest challenge in "Paddle 2010." He begins his three-month quest Sunday, all to raise awareness for a plastic free ocean.
Having started martial arts at 3 years old, Jones is a seven-time Muay Thai boxing champion. A former Marine, Jones has used his athletic durability to bring awareness to several societal issues with his extreme events.
Send your questions now and join Jones Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Extreme athlete Tom Jones will be here at the top of the hour to take your questions!
We've got Tom!
How much training did you do to prepare to paddle boarding from Key West, Fla. to New York City?
My entire life has prepared me for the event. My fighting career, I have 7 titles in a 20-year fighting career. I've set endurance records in running. All of that has made my legs strong enough and will strong enough for this event. I've been specifically paddle boarding since 2006.
will you have any support out in the water, just in case? Or will you be all alone out there?
Yes, I have a wave runner that shadows me in case of big predators or lightning storm or in case something happens and I have to get out of there quick. When I paddled California, I had a couple of times when a great white shark presented itself and I had to get out of there quick.
How did you decide what route/stops you wanted to make?
The route, I decided a year ago, because I had heard that there was a garbage patch in the Atlantic that was similar to the garbage patch in the Pacific. The trash patch in the Atlantic is actually bigger than the Pacific.
Do you still practice muay thai?
Yes. It's great training. Good for the mind, body and spirit.
what made you decide the ocean was a cause you wanted to get involved with?
Good question. All of the fighting that I had done and the endurance running I had done was not an instant reward thing. I promised my wife that I would do something that was fun and gratifying right away. I liked to surf and I hired someone to help me catch the bigger waves. I started paddle boarding in harbors and saw too much debris. I ran into the boat captain that discovered the Pacific garbage patch. I realized that this threat was very great and that something needed to be done.
How far do you plan on going each day?
We have it averaged out to about 18 miles a day. By the time we get to New York, that's what we're hoping the average is.
where will you sleep?
I come on land nightly and I have a motorhome that I use as basecamp. After we've covered about 100 miles of land, we leap frog the motorhome to the next 100 miles location.
are you worried about the weather?
Yes. And it's already presenting a problem. There are heavy winds and lightning storms that are already presenting problems for me.
will you get a new board for the event?
I have a signature series line of paddleboards that I designed and you can find them on Arcboards.com. Arc Paddle Boards. Google it.
what will be the hardest part?
The hardest part period will be being away from my family for 4 months. On the water, it will be the water.
what will you do to keep your mind occupied?
I have my hands full, just handling the weather, how tough it is out there. 90% of the time, it's all I can do to just stay on the board and navigate the waters.
how far off the land will you be?
I go anywhere from 5 feet to 15 miles. Those are just geographic positions that dictate where I will be.
what do you hope to accomplish?
I hope to raise $500,000 to help get rid of the plastic content that resides in the ocean.
what do you do to deal with the weather out therE?
I try to get my back to the wind as much as possible. When it rains real heavy, I put my rain gear on, I try to tough it out. When it gets foggy, I rely on my GPS.
what about boats? How do you avoid them?
Yes. I do. A lot of times, I'm dealing with cargo boats that have the containers on them. I've dealt with oil ships. When I go into the Hudson in New York, I have to deal with very large ships that don't care about me at all. I just have to navigate around them.
Go to PlasticFreeOcean.org and donate. We know what we're doing out there, we just need the money to help.
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