Stand-Up for a Cause
Mario St. Cyr was the first guy to open a stand-up paddleboard business in Fort Lauderdale when he ran Paddles and Boards, parking his trailer right there on Sunrise Boulevard at George English Park, where it was easy to push off into the calm Intracoastal Waterway and commune with manatees and super yachts. Paddlers loved that Mario was ultra friendly, didn’t charge an arm and a leg and an internal organ, and didn’t overcomplicate the sport so he could up sell you overpriced lessons.
(Newsflash: It’s really not complicated to stand up, balance, and paddle.) But after many competitors got into the game and undercut him by not having insurance, St. Cyr decided to get out of the seven-day-a-week rentals and reignite his real estate business. Which left him time and spirit to start a paddle boarding charity!
Now St. Cyr, who once taught skiing to underprivileged kids, rents boards by appointment ($40 to $45 for all-day rental with free introductory lesson or $100 for a two-hour private lesson), and is focused on group events — like offering paddle boarding to kids who would otherwise never get the chance to try it and hosting fundraisers like Stand-Up for the Pets (paddle with your dog onboard and raise funds for spay and neuter programs). Even with these new initiatives, St. Cyr manages to offer semi regular paddle boarding lessons to Fort Lauderdale residents at the low, low cost of absolutely free! Next dates are June 22 and July 13 — get on that!
Miami Watermen Complete First-Ever Crossing of Gulf Stream on Stand-up Paddleboards
Miami Watermen Complete First-Ever Crossing of Gulf Stream on Stand-up Paddleboards
Bimini-Miami Blue Water Challenge Raised Awareness for Surfrider’s Rise Above Plastics
MIAMI BEACH, FL—JUNE 15, 2012— A journey of 10,000 strokes starts and ends with just one. On June 9th, Miami residents, Bill Whiddon (58) and Thaddeus Foote (38) set off from the docks of the Big Game Club Resort & Marina, Bimini. 17 hours, 11 minutes and 43 seconds later they took their final stroke to the shore of Haulover Beach, Miami. In doing so, they became the first in history to cross the Gulf Steam on stand-up paddleboards.
During their 60-plus mile epic journey, the pair battled rainsqualls, searing summer heat and the natural northern drift of the Gulf Stream.
“It was paddle, hydrate, eat and paddle more,” said the 58-year-old Whiddon. “We did battle a 40 minute tough squall with the first hour of leaving the Bahamas and the seas went from flat to three-foot swells breaking into us.”
Their course was as tactical as it was long. To counteract the north pull of the Gulf Stream, Whiddon said he and Foote, 38, started a heading more southwest out of Bimini and then after ten hours turned the course more to a due westerly direction that increased speed and pushed to the north.
“We only had one fish encounter when we woke up a huge sun fish basking on the surface,” Whiddon recalled. “The fins on the fish were at least two feet long. We also had a school of dolphin swimming under our boards for a longtime, using the shade for some relief from the blistering sun.”
The cause behind the “Bimini to Miami Blue Water Challenge” is to raise awareness for Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics campaign to reduce plastics in the ocean.
“This crossing was a great opportunity to highlight the impact that plastics are having on our world’s ocean and how our actions, as a society, can make such a big difference,” said Foote.
C4 Waterman, Inc. is an Oahu, Hawaii-based lifestyle and adventure sports equipment company. They are a brand focused on providing the highest quality hard goods and soft goods to water sports athletes and enthusiasts around the world. C4 was the first company with a focus on SUP and continues to lead the pack when it comes to industry recognition, authenticity, innovation and product design. Planning a unique SUP expedition? C4 is always seeking new adventures. Contact us at www.c4waterman.com.
Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Local Miami Chapter www.surfridermiami.org efforts include lobbying for the enforcement of litter laws, beach dune restoration and K-8 environmental education.
Bimini Big Game Club
The historic Bimini Big Game Club, which reopened in the summer of 2010, is located on the main navigation channel in Bimini Bay. The resort currently features 51-rooms and a 75-slip marina capable of accommodating boats up to 145 feet in length. For more information, go to www.biggameclubbimini.com.
Chase Olivieri, C4 Waterman, 787-316-2289, www.c4waterman.com email@example.com
Thaddeus Foote, 786-837-3988, firstname.lastname@example.org
Martha Greenlee, 407-580-1830, www.surfridermiami.org,
Regulations regarding paddleboards and PFDs vary depending on the circumstances. If a paddleboarder is in a swimming, surfing or bathing area, the PFD is optional. It is required equipment beyond those instances.
Those who knew him said was as good as they get.
“He was a very strong paddler,” said Darry Jackson, who sells stand-up paddleboards out of his shop, Bill Jackson Shop for Adventure in Pinellas Park. “He was in great shape.”
But when Comer, a 50-year-old from Tampa did not return from a stand-up paddleboard trip near Egmont Key last weekend, his friends were left to only guess what happened.
This much is certain: The avid waterman had gone out for a paddle near Egmont Key on Saturday. His paddleboard, along with his wallet and car keys, was found near the north entrance of the Manatee River late that evening. His vehicle was found at Fort De Soto County Park, and Tampa police checked his residence.
“The weather was pretty nice, but later that afternoon a storm came blowing through,” Jackson said. “It was probably pretty rough out there.”
The U.S. Coast Guard scoured local waters for two days, covering an area roughly the size of Pinellas County, before abandoning its search Monday evening. Comer’s body has still not been found.
Even experienced paddlers can fall off their board when the seas get rough. And once you are in the water up to your chin, it is often difficult to see above the waves.
“And when you do fall, you tend to push the board away from you,” Jackson said. “And when the waves are big, it can be hard to find the board again.”
Stand-up paddleboarding is one of the nation’s fastest growing water sports. Paddlers stand atop a board that is similar to a surfboard and propel themselves across the surface with a long paddle. Bill Jackson’s sold three times as many paddleboards last month as it did the same time period one year ago.
Unfortunately, many of those who are new to the sport don’t think much about safety.
A board leash, which keeps the board attached to the paddler at the ankle, is relatively inexpensive, but it can be a true lifesaver, especially in open water.
“We don’t know if Jeff had a leash or not,” Jackson said. “But I do know that if I planned to paddle across the mouth of Tampa Bay, I would definitely be using one.”
Board leashes cost between $12 and $35. If the water is flat calm, the leash can be coiled up on the deck of the board, where it is out of the way. “But if you are going to paddle open water, you need a leash,” Jackson cautioned.
PFDs for SUPs
Many paddlers don’t know whether the regulations regarding personal flotation devices apply to paddleboards.
Should a stand-up paddleboard be treated like a surfboard, no PFD required? Or are the oversized paddleboards more like kayaks and canoes, a mode of transportation, and therefore subject to applicable U.S. Coast Guard regulations?
After much discussion, Michael Schenker, a local paddling instructor, put the question to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
“Stand-up paddleboards are classified by the U.S. Coast Guard as a vessel,” wrote Brian Rehwinkel, the FWC’s boating and safety awareness coordinator. “The only exception would be if these paddleboards were used in a swimming, surfing or bathing area.”
As a result, basic boating safety equipment requirements apply, which means one U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket “onboard” for each passenger on the paddleboard. In Florida waters, any child under 6 years of age would have to wear a life jacket while the vessel is under way.
Lisa Novak, a public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard in Washington, concurred: “The Coast Guard has determined that beyond the narrow limits of a swimming, surfing or bathing area, a paddleboard is a vessel, and therefore subject to applicable regulations.”
Welcome to Fort Lauderdale’s Official Stand up Paddle Boarding Services City Partner!
Paddle boarding, an ancient form of surfing, is gaining popularity as a high-intensity, low-impact platform for group fitness classes from calisthenics to yoga.
Experts say it may feel like walking on water because paddle boarding works on the flat water of a lake or pond and doesn’t involve waves.
“A paddle board is basically a surfboard that’s thicker, more buoyant, so it can hold you standing up in flat water,” said Scott Bumbalough, founder of Maui B’s Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
“For fitness classes we take a one-hour lap around the lake,” he said, which in this case is Lake Ivanhoe in Orlando, Florida. “Buoys are placed at intervals and at each buoy we do an exercise such as squats, push-ups or squat thrusts on the board.”
Bumbalough encountered paddle boarding, which probably dates from ancient Polynesia, while living in Hawaii, where surfers used it to train when the surf was down.
“It’s a high-intensity, low-impact workout,” he said. “The class probably works about 85 percent of the muscles in body.”
Bumbalough said he brought paddle boarding to Florida in 2007. Since then it’s spread throughout the nation as a hugely popular sport that can be done anywhere there’s safe water. Peace, serenity, and six-pack abs are among the many benefits that have accrued to Nani Sadowski, a health-care consultant, since she started exercising on the paddle board two years ago.
“I prefer yoga on paddle board because you have to focus that much more on your balance,” said Sadowski. – Reuters
I had all my gear with me but the winds was just not conducive for going after tarpon via stand up paddle board. We went to plan B, which was to fish sheltered area and see if we can come across some fish.
Like most people he was hesitant about fishing from a SUP because the fear of falling. I assured him if he had half way decent balance it would be a breeze. After about 10minute of paddling it was 2nd nature to him. We to fight some winds to get to our spot but once there we were greeted with calm crystal clear water.
Due to looking into the glare, we spooked a few fish heading over there. This was very promising indeed. We decided to work the mangrove and split up until we found fish. It wasn’t too until Josh screamed “fish on!” in a super excited voice. I made my way over and Josh, on his first cast with a DOA shrimp I gave him(casting it on a over size rod) get a really nice red fish.
We saw several more schools for red fish and Josh on his 2nd cast lands another one on the DOA shrimp again. I opted to stay with fly rod only and could not get a good shot so no eats for me. After the tide came up the fish scattered and we called it in for lunch.
We decided to relaunch for baby tarpon later but the water was so high they all underneath the mangroves. We did get a chance to get Josh’s girlfriend on one for a quick demo. Like Josh, she was hesitant at first but picked it up right away. I think after this experience there will be a couple more paddle boards in the keys soon.
Responding to complaints from jet ski tour operators, Florida Fish & Wildlife officers have aggressively increased their presence at popular paddleboarding spots, to initiate a ‘no tolerance’ policy regarding any infractions. “We’ve had reports of paddleboarders harassing the jet skis—racing intimidatingly towards them and generally making a distracting spectacle on the water,” said jet ski operator, “Smitty” Smith, “when our clients are feeling threatened, we lose business and demand protection.”
Informed sources report the paddleboarders have no respect for other mariners, or even aids to navigation. “They just paddle wherever the hell they want, ignoring channel markers and even going in water too shallow for real watercraft,” Smith tattles. “Some even dive off their boards and go for a swim.”
Marine Patrols are on the lookout, writing tickets as fast as they can tally offenses—all in the name of maintaining order on the seas. Former Commodore, “BJ” Jones explains, “It’s our right to go out drinking and fishing without having to look at them paddling around aimlessly. But when they start with that paddleboard yoga, well someone has to draw a line.”
i have to confess hard core water sports are not my thing, but then, most of you know that by now! but i do enjoy living by the sea and doing stuff water and beach related.