Barger eyes Olympic spot
Coming off a disappointing start to the 2011 season, Ben Barger, the top-ranked American windsurfer, made winning look easy last month when he placed first in six out of eight races at the Italian Championships. Barger, a Tampa Bay native, hopes to secure his spot in the 2012 Olympics by winning the U.S. Olympic trials in Australia in December.
Barger, who trains out of the St. Petersburg Sailing Center, has struggled to mount his recent campaign. "People think that the U.S. Olympic team is well- and fully funded," he said. "But last April, at the European World Cup, the only way I could afford to be there was stay in a tent."
The one-man popup, which the salesman said could be set up in "two seconds" cost Barger $50. "Sitting in that tent I started thinking about a new nutritional supplement geared to athletes on a budget like myself," he said.
Barger's nutritional supplement is now close to being on store shelves. To learn more, or to support Barger's Olympic quest, go to Team2seconds.com or Ben Barger.com.
Head offshore about 20 miles and you should be able to catch your share of gag grouper. The season opened in all waters of the Gulf of Mexico (except Monroe County) on Sept. 16. Anglers in both state and federal waters can keep two gags per day, 22 inches or longer, until Nov. 15. Gag grouper had been off limits in federal waters since Jan. 1, 2011, and state waters since June 1. To learn more about gag grouper, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing; click on "Saltwater" and "Regulations" then "Groupers."
PETA says it's payback
Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has launched a new billboard campaign making light of a recent shark attack in Manatee County. The billboard, a rendering of a great white shark with a human leg sticking out of its mouth, carries the headline "Payback Is Hell. Go Vegan."
"Humans hook, spear, maim, and kill fish for 'sport' every day," PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman said in a recent new release. "The most dangerous predator of all is the one holding the fishing rod or standing at the 'all you can eat' seafood buffet."
To see the billboard, or to tell the animal rights group what you think of their recent media initiative, go to PETA.org.
St. Petersburg skipper Ed Baird, an America's Cup winner now racing in Europe on the Audi MedCup circuit, has won the international series for the second time in four years. Baird's team, Quantum Racing, was the only American entry in the highly competitive monohull racing series that wrapped up its season in Valencia, Spain last month. Most of the major European countries, including Italy, Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, Portugal and Russia, entered both 40- and 52-foot boats in the five regatta series.