Who’s to say I can’t do everything Well I can try And as I roll along I begin to find Things aren’t always just what they seem
I want to turn the whole thing upside down I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found I’ll share this love I find with everyone We’ll sing and dance to Mother Nature’s songs I don’t want this feeling to go away
– “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson.
I think our youngest daughter, Kaelyn, spends more time on her hands than her feet! : )
Some nice looking graphic art for this year’s Right Whale Festival swag! I did the 5K on Saturday am, Nov. 15th up in Jax Beach. Always fun, relaxed and for a great cause! The festival was going on all day. I’ve done the run a couple of times now and enjoy supporting them. I gave it good effort and finished 2nd in my age group, 16th overall with 8.10 min miles. Not too shabby, and listening to Jack Johnson the whole way! I can’t believe I’ve got a “50” hanging by my name in the results. I still feel 35 on most days, but doggone it, they got it right!
This was the scene on Tuesday evening, Sept. 16th, the evening before the Edouard swell hit. I went on a 3 mile beach run and was hoping to see some of the swell start filtering in. The ocean was clean, green and glassy as the sun went down with razor sharp little 1-1.5 ft. lines. The swell came in the next day, small in the morning but building significantly after about noon with epic 4-6+ surf for two days/nights. I took two days off from work and surfed all of it at Mickler’s, both days. It has been a slow summer and a lot of people were really stoked on the swell, none more than me!
Well, I made it through another year of Never Quit, an event I really enjoy. I competed in the Trident Solo, which includes a 5K Run, followed by a 500 Meter open ocean swim, followed by a 1,500 Meter surfboard paddle. It was a blast, as usual, and I met both of my personal goals- bettering last year’s time, and finishing in under an hour, despite a bum knee, which prevented me from doing any kind of serious prep work this year.
1st Place Sports results showed me as coming in third place in my age group, although they got that wrong. They showed my age as 49, placing me in the 45-49 age group. Truth be told, I turned 50 on May 1st, 30 days prior to the competition, which would have put me in 50-54 age group, where I actually would have placed 5th among men. But hey, happy to take third against the younger guys! : ) If you live in, or near Northeast Florida and have never participated in Never Quit, I encourage you to give it a go. There are all kinds of events and activities to participate in. I think it’s the best sporting event in our area, personally, but then I love the beach and the ocean.
The event is put on the Petroni family of Atlantic Beach, led by Erik Petroni (Some may recognize the Petroni name. Karina Petroni is a successful young pro surfer from the area). The event celebrates the life and spirit of Erik and Karina’s father, Capt. Gerard Petroni, who was a great patriot, athlete, waterman, Christian and family man. Capt. Petroni suffered a massive stroke in 2006 and fought valiantly to recover before eventually passing in 2009. During one of the most critical moments of his recovery, while unable to walk, eat or speak, his family handed him a piece of paper and asked him if he could write one thing on the paper, what would it be? He scribbled the words, “Never Quit”. Today the event celebrates the values that Capt. Petroni held dear- healthy living, love of family and friends and a relentless “Never Quit” approach to life. You can learn more about the event and Capt. Petroni’s amazing life in this fantastic video.
I’ve recently begun working on a new project during my spare time. My idea is a website that people would use as a resource for discovering things to do outside in Northeast Florida (hiking, biking, boating, fishing, surfing, SUPing, kayaking, ziplining, etc.) The best activities; best places to go; best guides/lessons/gear/rental equipment; etc. I’ve been thinking about doing it for a while, and finally decided to get started. I’ve looked around online for similar resources and while there are a few good niche sites for individual categories, I haven’t found a really good aggregation of information in one spot.
It’s a pretty big content challenge and I’m creating it myself (using an online web builder software). I think it will probably take all summer. But, it allows me to scratch my creative, entrepreneurial and outdoor adventurist itches all at the same time. I’m not looking at it so much in the interest of creating a business at this time, more of a community-minded effort because I think we need this in our area. If it ends up generating some consistent traffic, I can always monetize it later. As I am developing it, I am doing so with strategic SEO in mind.
Below are the first few screen shots. Some of the navigation is hidden, but I’ve included some of the drop-down menus so you can get an idea of where I’m headed. Wish me luck!
Looking for something really, really fun to do by yourself or with your family? Try Stand-up Paddleboarding with H20 Generation! My good friend, “Chickie” Dimain, perhaps better known locally, regionally and internationally as, “Da Buh” for his DaBuh.com surf forecast, has opened a new business providing lessons and guided tours for H20 Generation Paddleboards. Chickie offers tours inside Swimming Pen Creek, launching from Whitey’s fish camp on Fleming Island.
Currently, for just $25 per person, Chickie will provide a lesson and the tour (about a 2 mile round-trip paddle), where you’re likely to see a great deal of wildlife including manatees, turtles, blue herons and other species. If you prefer a shorter or longer distance, Chickie will accommodate you. Of course, if you prefer to paddle alone, you can do that too.
Chickie can also drop the boards off at any location and give you private lessons at your place. This is also great for groups, birthdays, corporate and team-building outings. Think, the baseball team or cheerleading squad! Chickie also sells his beautiful H20 Generation Boards. They are all MADE IN AMERICA! (NYC) and they are epoxy, which makes them incredibly durable, light and bouyant! They regularly retail for about $1,000, but he is providing deals right now while in start-up (great deals!) Check him out for rentals or sales at 904-444-2149.
I took my wife, 15-year old daughter and 11-year-old daughter this past weekend. They had never SUP’ed before, took a brief 10-minute lesson and none of them ever fell the entire day. Not once! The two miles were the perfect distance for all of us. My oldest daughter is now already asking for her own paddleboard for Christmas! I cannot recommend it highly enough. Chickie and his beautiful daughter, Ella, are great guides and will make you feel safe and right at home in the water, no matter your level of experience. If you’re surfer and it’s flat, you’ll love this, I assure you. I particularly enjoyed being in the water with my entire family, the light workout and just enjoying the scenic beauty of our natural surroundings. Speaking of natural surroundings, I won’t speculate on what kind of bush that is growing there in the parking lot at Whitey’s in the photo, below.
8/6/2013 Update on Beach Weeks... I was informed today by my former Operations Manager that Southeast Volusia County’s bed-tax collections for the month of June, 2013- the primary month that Beach Weeks took place – was $158,000 – the highest amount for this traditionally slow month in a decade (since the 2003 fiscal year!) GREAT results that should ensure the future of “Beach Weeks” for a long time to come, and a rewarding acknowledgement for a lot of hard work! Big shoutouts to my former SVAA Team Members including the Board of Directors, who trusted me enough to approve my recommended funding for this concept; Frank DeMarchi of Black Crow Productions, who spearheaded production and without whom it would never have occurred; Former Chairman of the SVAA Board, David Kosmas, who challenged me to make it happen this year, despite a short timetable; Liz Yancey, who helped steer some of the events/production and Elizabeth Gifford, who helped drive planning, budgeting and marketing from beginning to end. Thanks also to Sherry Hendershot, Myriah Chandler and Bobbie Clemente for all of their administrative and design work that went into this, and to Doug Garrison and Ed Bondi for their initial branding concepts! May Beach Weeks become a “can’t miss” annual event for Southeast Volusia County for years to come!