Terry Tomalin, Times Outdoors/Fitness Editor

Terry Tomalin

Terry Tomalin moved to Florida in the spring of 1980 for the sun and surf. After graduating from the University of South Florida in 1983, Tomalin backpacked through Europe, returning a few months later to work for a small Central Florida newspaper, where his stories on the Ku Klux Klan resulted in the resignation of a local sheriff.

Tomalin joined the Times as a police reporter in 1986, but left 18 months later to backpack through New Zealand and Australia. He returned a year later and transferred to the sports department to cover the great outdoors.

During the past 20 years, Tomalin has lived with witch doctors in the Amazon, explored sunken Mayan archaeological sites in Mexico, sailed to Cuba, canoed to the Bahamas and swam around Key West. Tomalin loves to fish, surf, paddle and enjoy all Florida has to offer.

A fellow of the prestigious Explorer's Club in New York City, Tomalin holds a master's degree in Florida studies and is involved in many community organizations, including the Boy Scouts of America.

Phone: (727) 893-8808

Email: ttomalin@tampabay.com

Twitter: @WaterTribe

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  1. Women-only triathlons find their place in a competitive field

    Health

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Brittany Pierce doesn't mind coed triathlons. The elite triathlete, a Clearwater Beach lifeguard, is used to competing with men. • "They make you go faster," she explained. "But I can understand why some women, especially if they are new to the sport, can find it kind of intimidating." • The swim portion, the opening leg of a triathlon, can sometimes feel like a free-for-all. It's not uncommon to get slapped, punched and kicked as competitors struggle to find a lane to open water. • Excuse the cliche, but it is often "every man for himself." • Race organizer Fred Rzymek said his all-women's triathlon will have a different vibe. "So far everybody has been really receptive," he said. "We are expecting 500 women at Fort De Soto this weekend, which is great for a first-time event."...

    Monika Cassidy competes in the 2013 Courage to Tri in Clearwater.
  2. Terry Tomalin confronts his fears on a zip line (w/video)

    Outdoors

    BRADENTON

    Clutching a telephone pole 60 feet above the ground, I wondered why I hadn't told Aaron Corr* that I was scared of heights.

    "There is nothing to it," Corr had said as I started the long climb to the zip line above. "Just don't look down."

    His advice worked for the first six stories, but now standing atop a small platform with no handrails, I had to look somewhere.

    "Scared might be too strong a word," I said to myself, trying to get psyched up for what lay ahead. "Don't like heights would be more accurate."...

    Guide Ryan Zimmer prepares for a zip line ride, one of many activities at TreeUmph! Adventure Course.
  3. Jet boats and more at Tampa Bay Boat Show

    Outdoors

    TAMPA — Like many die-hard "prop" men, I once snubbed my nose at jet-powered watercraft. A dedicated outboard owner, I dismissed these recreational vessels as nothing more than jet skis on steroids.

    Times have changed.

    "Where's my ride?" I asked Justin Greene, pointing to a beefy boat on the back of a trailer outside Barney's Motorcycle & Marine in St. Petersburg. "I'm here to do a test drive."...

    Terry Tomalin is at the helm as he and Barney’s Motorcycle & Marine sales manager Justin Greene take a ride on a Yamaha 242 jet boat. The model is new, but jet boats have been around for decades.
  4. St. Pete's Island Nautical is the go-to place for sails big and small

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG

    The Royal Clipper harkens back to an era when an aristocratic elite traveled the Caribbean in style. With a waterline of 439 feet and an average speed of 10 knots, the Monaco-based Clipper line is for cruisers interested in an Old World experience.

    But the Royal Clipper, the first five-mast, fully rigged sailing ship to be built since 1902, has 42 sails that require constant care and maintenance, and when one rips or needs to be replaced, the Clipper line turns to a New World sail loft, St. Petersburg's Island Nautical....

    Island Nautical made all of the sails for the Royal Clipper, the luxury flagship of the Clipper line, which first sailed in 2000.
  5. Tampa's Mary Mangiapia aims for kayaking history

    Outdoors

    TARPON SPRINGS — After kayaking nearly 40 miles in one day, the last thing Mary Mangiapia wanted to do was tow some stranded jet skiers to shore.

    "I had no choice," said the 28-year-old from Tampa who hopes to be the first woman to complete the 1,500-mile Florida Circumnavigational Saltwater Paddling Trail. "But they were stranded and needed help."

    The man and the woman told Mangiapia, who started her expedition Sept. 6 near the Alabama border, that their personal watercraft broke down Monday afternoon. They spent the night on a sandbar and tried to flag down passing boaters all day Tuesday off of Tarpon Springs. ...

    Mary Mangiapa, who just got a master’s degree from USF, is in the process of kayaking the Florida Circum-navigational Paddling Trail, mostly by herself. She began at the Alabama border. “It has been kind of crazy,’’ she says, with bad weather and bears among her challenges.
  6. Boat builders exhibition in Tampa shows industry rebounding

    Business

    TAMPA — Like many at the International Boatbuilders Exhibition & Conference, Steve Schoderer is optimistic about the future of the nation's marine industry.

    "We had some rough years," said Scho­derer of Mercury Marine, one the country's leading outboard motor manufacturers. "But things are looking up. One reason — technology."

    Schoderer, while standing on the dock outside the Tampa Convention Center, said he thinks high-tech features such as his company's new "joystick" operating system will be the next big thing in every new pleasure cruiser....

    Mercury Marine hopes other boat builders will use its “joystick” operating system as they look for new technology to make their boats easier to drive.
  7. Superboat races in Clearwater this weekend

    Outdoors

    CLEARWATER

    Veteran racer Bob Noble Jr. knows that the secret to success on the offshore powerboat circuit is just making it across the finish line.

    "It is a long season," said Noble, whose STIHL Offshore Racing team leads the points race heading into the Super Boat National Championship. "You try to rack up points as you go, but often it comes down to the last race. That's why everything counts."...

     SP_344506_KEEL_TOMALIN_ SCOTT KEELER(09/28/2011 St. Petersburg) 1. Sig photo of staffer Terry Tomalin.   SCOTT KEELER, TIMES
  8. Low-speed boating zones to protect manatees proposed for Pinellas' Intracoastal

    Wildlife

    The perennial Florida debate over which to protect — boaters or manatees? — is heating up again in Pinellas County, where state officials are proposing rules that would slow traffic along the Intracoastal Waterway.

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reconsidering speed limits because of a rise in manatee deaths. Officials have identified 21 areas along Pinellas waterways that might warrant half-mile "slow speed" zones....

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is reconsidering the speed limits on Pinellas' waterways given a rise in manatee deaths. Officials have identified 21 areas, including the John's Pass area, that may warrant half-mile "slow speed" zones. 
[CHERIE DIEZ    |   Times]
  9. St. Petersburg man swims 20-mile Catalina Island to California route

    Outdoors

    Chris Burke didn't know what to expect when he walked into the water off Catalina Island shortly before midnight on Monday.

    "There's a lot that goes through your mind," said the 52-year-old contractor from St. Petersburg. "You know you are going to have to swim through the night. … It gets kind of lonely. There's a lot to think about."

    But 11 hours, 22 minutes and 20 miles later, Burke made landfall on the California coast, completing the second leg of the coveted Triple Crown of Open Water Swimming....

    Chris Burke, 52, of St. Petersburg, back on dry land on Tuesday after his Catalina Island to California coast swim.
  10. Anglers need to clean up to protect nature

    Outdoors

    TIERRA VERDE — I consider myself a pretty good caster, but occasionally I do snag a mangrove. I take great care when removing the lure, partly because I'm a cheapskate and can't stand losing a $7 MirrOlure. But I also know that fishing line kills.

    On a warm September morning 20 years ago, I was touring the small islands of Tampa Bay, rookeries where pelicans and other birds come to raise their young. My friend Peter Clark, a biologist who had just started a non-profit called Tampa Bay Watch, wanted to show me first-hand what old monofilament fishing line can do....

    This pelican got tangled in a fisherman’s rig but survived after Tampa Bay Watch volunteers removed the hook.
  11. Get Hubbard fishing tips at Tampa's Florida Sportsman Expo

    Outdoors

    MADEIRA BEACH — Like most fishermen, Capt. Mark Hubbard keeps his cards close to his chest.

    "I don't want to give away all of my secrets," said Hubbard, whose family has been running party boats out of John's Pass for nearly 50 years. "If you want to know how to catch fish — book a trip."

    Hubbard prides himself on keeping his repeat customers happy. He likes to send anglers home with fish for the pan, grill and smoker. But like most successful captains, he's a businessman. That's why it's surprising to see him on the list of speakers at this weekend's Florida Sportsman Expo at the Florida State Fairgrounds....

    Mark Hubbard, right, whose family has been running charter boats out of John’s Pass for nearly 50 years, will share offshore fishing tips at this weekend’s Florida Sportsman Expo at the State Fairgrounds in Tampa.
  12. 'American Ninja Warrior' says he's really training for life

    Health

    Sean Morris is a reluctant warrior. The soft-spoken communications student at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg never dreamed he'd be an "American Ninja." He just sort of stumbled into it.

    "One of the things I have always prided myself on is my balance," said the 6-foot-2, 170-pound extreme athlete. "But this was something that I just fell into."

    Morris, 26, a former skateboarder who was born and raised in Sarasota, installed hurricane shutters part time to help pay his way through school....

    Sean Morris hones his skills at home in Sarasota.
  13. Jetovator creates full-thrust fun

    Outdoors

    TAMPA — Taking off on a Jetovator isn't hard. It's the landing that hurts.

    "Are you okay?" Eddie McNamara asked as I climbed out from beneath the hydro-powered water bike. "You landed pretty hard."

    I grumbled something, rolled back to my feet and made a mental note: Next time stay in deep water, far away from the sandbar.

    "You were doing pretty good," McNamara added, "until you crashed."...

    Eddie McNamara gives a sneak preview of the Jetovator demonstrations he will conduct this weekend.
  14. Guy Harvey Outpost to host lionfish tournament

    Outdoors

    Fishing

    Lionfish tournament at Harvey Outpost

    The Guy Harvey Outpost on St. Pete Beach is hosting a lionfish spearfishing tournament on Sept. 6. Lionfish are an invasive species that compete with native fish such as gag and red grouper on local reefs. The only way to get rid of lionfish is to shoot them. Divers who participate in the Lionfish Safari must surrender their catch on Sept. 7 when the Outpost hosts a Family Fun Day. All lionfish captured during the tournament will be filleted, cooked and served to participants. Lionfish have venomous spines, but when handled properly, are fine dinner fare. The entry fee is $20. The deadline to sign up is Saturday. Go to guyslionfishsafari.com....

  15. Anglers wary about Red Tide

    Outdoors

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Nothing creates more confusion and anguish among anglers than the words "Red Tide."

    For weeks now, a harmful algae bloom has been lingering 5 to 20 miles offshore between Tarpon Springs and Dixie County. There have been reports of fish kills in deep water, but as of today, there have been no issues reported inshore.

    Local fishermen and boaters remember Tampa Bay's last major Red Tide. In 2005-06, water- and tourism-related businesses lost millions as dead fish covered local beaches and shorelines....

    Treasure Island was among areas affected by the last major Red Tide to hit the Tampa Bay area, in 2005-06.