In the 14-year history of the Everglades Challenge, a 300-mile small-boat race from St. Petersburg to Key Largo, people have tried to make it in every craft imaginable, including kayaks, canoes, catamarans, even paddleboards.
But nobody had ever made it on a windsurfer — until this year.
"We are humble, happy and proud," said Tony Vandenberg, a former Eckerd College sailing team member who now lives in Charlotte. "It was a survival race."...
Club can speed Fly-fishing learning curve
If you're looking for an entertaining sport that will keep you frustrated for life don't play golf, pick up a fly rod. Saltwater fly-fishing can take decades to master, but you can fast-track your education by joining a fly-fishing club. The Tampa Bay Fly Fishing Club will hold its annual banquet March 30 from 3 to 7 p.m. at the Hunter's Green Country Club in Tampa. To learn more, call Walt Durkin (813) 476-7128....
Sails and Song Celebrate U.S. history
Classic sailboat fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the 1812-era Privateer Lynx during a fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. Saturday at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club (11 Central Ave.). Tax-deductible tickets cost $75 per person and include ship tours, live and silent auctions, food and drink. The event, part of the celebration of the bicentennial of the Star Spangled Banner, also will feature an authentic fife and drum corps. For information, go to privateerlynx.com....
ST. PETERSBURG — Stop by the Tampa Bay Boat Show at Tropicana Field this weekend and you'll see the top fishing boats on the market. But every angler knows that it takes more than a sound hull and dependable engine to catch fish. You need a little rigging.
Fishing boats — everything from flats skiffs to center consoles — must have the right equipment. Rod holders, electronics and livewells are all a matter of personal preference. Rigging a boat the right way is as much of an art as it is a science. That's why even big boat fishermen can learn something from kayak guide Neil Taylor....
"Happy are those who dream dreams … and have the courage to make them come true."
Verlen Kruger, long-distance paddler and canoe designer (1922-2004)
ST. PETERSBURG — Steve Isaac has adventure in his blood. The 65-year-old "chief" of a loose-knit group of small-boat enthusiasts called the WaterTribe nearly died four years ago when his canoe capsized one night several miles offshore....
TAMPA — Sara Petrick of Tampa has run the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15-kilometer course too many times to count. The former University of Florida cross country runner went to the Academy of the Holy Names, which sits on Bayshore Boulevard.
"I am very familiar with this course," said Petrick, 27, who won the women's race Saturday in 55 minutes, 49 seconds, "so that is why I try to go out hard."...
TAMPA — Jonathon Mott got up Saturday morning hoping he didn't have to work too hard to win the $2,000 prize that goes to the top local finisher in the Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K.
"But halfway through the first mile I looked over and saw this guy right there with me," Mott explained. "So I asked what he was hoping to run and when he said 47:30, I knew it was going to be a tough one."...
Jessica Crate isn't your typical runner. She actually hopes somebody will break her Gasparilla Half Marathon record Sunday.
"I think it would be great," said the 28-year-old coach, nutritionist and sports marketer. "There is a great field this year, and that would just give me something to work for next time."
Crate's record of 1 hour, 20 minutes, 6 seconds set in 2011 will surely fall this year. A $40,000 purse will bring more than a dozen world-class male and female runners this year for the 13.1 mile race....
Fifty years ago this week four boys from Britain took a boat ride in Miami. They had appeared on television the night before, a program called The Ed Sullivan Show, and they wanted to cut loose.
So they hopped into the prototype of a new offshore race boat named The Cigarette. The boat's builder, a man whose company would later become synonymous with go-fast boats, fired up the 435-horsepower engine, and hit the throttle....
Local Sailors swamp podium at NOOD regatta
Andrew Fisher and his crew aboard Bandit in the competitive Sonar class was declared the overall winner during the St. Petersburg leg of the multicity National Offshore One-Design regatta series. The team of Connecticut-based sailors outperformed more than 125 teams that competed over two days on the waters of Tampa Bay. Fisher won a Caribbean sail charter aboard a Sunsail 44i. Top local finishers included Andrew Walford (St. Petersburg, second, VX One class), Ethan Bixby (St. Petersburg, first, Contender), Zeke Durica (Dunedin, first, Ensign), Robby Brown (St. Petersburg, second, J-24), Rob Britts (St. Petersburg, second, Melges 24) and David King (Bradenton, third, Melges 24), and Michael Siedlecki (St. Petersburg, first), Ed German (Tampa, second) and Adam Rosen (Crystal Beach, third) in the PHRF 1 Division. Largo's Raymond Mannix and St. Petersburg's Harvey Ford were first and third, respectively, in the PHRF 2 class....
Jonathon Mott's tank is full, and he's hoping for an easy cruise to victory down Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard in Saturday's Gasparilla Distance Classic.
"I feel good about this one," said the former star St. Petersburg's Northeast High star. "I've got a little extra gas. I think I can get out front and hold it."
Mott, 27, finished second in last year's 15K, Gasparilla's trademark race, then came back the next day on a whim and won the half-marathon....
Shoes have come a long way since 1974 when Nike introduced the Waffle trainer, the first athletic footwear designed and marketed for the recreational runner. � In the 40 years that followed, running shoe technology has become big business. Every year the major manufacturers — and there are now more than a dozen — compete for a piece of the running market. � Since 1990, the number of Americans competing in events such as this weekend's Gasparilla Distance Classic has more than tripled. They all have at least one thing in common: They need shoes. � "The running industry is like a big pie," said Mary Paige Price, manager of the Fit2Run store in St. Petersburg. "Shoes are just one piece of it, but a very big piece." � Walk into one of the bigger specialty running stores, such as the Fit2Run shop at Tampa's International Plaza, and you're confronted with more than 100 different shoe models, from minimalist racing flats that weigh just a few ounces to heavily padded stabilizers designed for runners coming off an injury. � "There is no one size fits all," Price said. "Even somebody who has been running in the same brand or model of shoe might have their needs change. That is why it is so important to get re-evaluated each time you buy a pair of running shoes." � Many weekend warriors run in the wrong shoes. They may go years without a problem, but sooner or later, that lack of attention most likely will lead to injury. If you are thinking about trying a 5K, the first step — even before you buy shoes — is to check with a doctor, especially if you have never run before or have not been active in years....
Rowers to invade Tampa for Regatta
Some of the nation's top rowers will converge on Tampa this weekend for the annual Roosevelt Regatta. Rowing, or "crew" as it is sometimes called, has a strong following in the northeast United States and among Ivy League schools. Tampa has long had its own rowing scene, thanks to the sheltered waters of the Hillsborough River. Among the competitors on hand will be the U.S. Olympic rowing team. The rowing action runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with paddleboarders, kayakers and dragon boat races slated for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Fans can watch from shore at Seddon Channel along Davis Islands' Marjorie Park. For more information, go to rooseveltrowingregatta.com....
February may be the month for love, but for fishermen, it's the month to hate.
Frequent cold fronts make it hard to get offshore and plummeting temperatures on the grass flats keep nearly every species from biting.
However, there is one bright spot, a reliable species I turn to when everything else shuts down: sheepshead.
You don't read much about sheepshead. Few anglers build reputations on them. You won't see the nom de guerre "Sheepshead Slayer" on any fishing website message boards....
PINELLAS PARK — Rod Price thinks sleep is overrated.
"They recommend 1 ½ to 2 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period," he said. "But I think you can get away with less. … Give me 30 minutes, and I'm good to go."
Price isn't your typical weekend warrior. He has never been on a "leisurely" paddle. He's a racer. When he paddles, it's hard and fast, for days at a time.
"People think it is beyond their capability," said Price, author of a new book called Racing Around Florida. "But their only limitation is what's between their ears."...