Paddling on the heels of the last supermoon of 2017, Phil Hughes navigated an uncommonly low tide off Dunedin through St. Joseph Sound on an effortless but lengthy glide.
This is not easy water, nor an easy paddle, and could be especially daunting for a 6-foot-3, 230-pound paddler with a board loaded down with gear, in Hughes’ case a packed cooler, a power pole, camera equipment, a 10-pound anchor and fishing tackle.
Hughes, chief marketing officer of LIVE Watersports, had spent daybreak making pictures of his company’s flagship, the L4Expedition, a 14-foot-long catamaran paddleboard. Hours later Hughes would blitz LIVE’s 21,600 Internet followers with a new dose of Instagram paddling eye candy.
The craft is the unique creation of Seminole native John Cleckner, who came up with the idea of a paddleboard with two parallel hulls in 2013 with retired financial wizard Bob Broadhead.
"I saw a hole in the market, something I could change, something I could do something about," Cleckner said. "Most people can’t stand on paddleboards and a lot of them do not hold weight well."
Cleckner said the boards have a lot of global popularity with yacht owners, and he has been shipping to cities in Israel, Japan and Dubai.
"We have come into a market where some big players are, and we are knocking on doors, and we are hanging in there because we have a better product," Cleckner said.