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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

  1. St. Petersburg sailor a winner in NOOD event



    st. petersburg sailor dumas tops nood event

    Grant Dumas of St. Petersburg took top honors at this year's National Offshore One Design (Regatta) after his Tripp 38 Warrior came out on top in the PHRF 1 Division. Dumas' team had the best performance out of the nine classes. The regatta drew more than 130 boats and thousands of sailors vying for a berth at the NOOD Caribbean Championship, which will be held in October in the British Virgin Islands. Other top local finishers included Marty Kullman's boat New Wave in the J 70 class, Rob Britts' Hot Mess in Melges 24, Andrew Walford's Commando in VX One, Zeke Durica's Vision in Ensign, Woody Cope's Cowbell in A-Class Catamaran, Allen Thomas Wired in PHRF 1, Raymond Mannix's Semper Fi, Harvey Ford's WildKat and Robert Wetmore's Family Circus in PHRF 2....

  2. Terry Tomalin's 25 tips after a quarter century outdoors


    Twenty-five years ago Sunday, I left my job in the News Department and moved to Sports to cover the great outdoors. One week, I was falling asleep in a county commission meeting, the next I was at Weedon Island catching snook. • I've gained knowledge and wisdom in the past quarter-century, and there have been times when the subtle difference between the two have helped me walk the fine line that often separates success and failure. • Many of these life lessons have been learned the hard way — through personal experience. But you can save yourself some time and suffering. Here are 25 observations from 25 years on the outdoors beat:...

    It’s probably safe to assume that Terry Tomalin thoroughly planned this fishing trip before he hooked a tarpon.
  3. Two-time Olympian Ritzenhein wins Gasparilla half-marathon


    TAMPA — Two-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein had thought the weather would work in his favor at Sunday's Gasparilla half-marathon.

    "It was minus-10 degrees when I left Michigan, so I was looking forward to some warm weather," said the 32-year-old from Grand Rapids. "But after the first couple of miles, I could really feel the humidity."

    Most Florida runners would think a 60 degree start at 6 a.m. a bit cool. Ritzenhein, a former American 5,000-meter record-holder, thought it a little muggy, yet he still managed to cover the 13.1-mile course in 1:03:17, shattering the existing record by nearly a minute....

    The half-marathon begins at 6 a.m. on the streets of South Tampa. Overall, more than 30,000 competed in the four Gasparilla races.
  4. Finish Gasparilla half-marathon, get wedding proposal


    TAMPA — Mike Bocanegra supports his girlfriend's running hobby, but he doesn't make it to every one of her road races. That is why he knew his marriage proposal would be a surprise.

    His girlfriend, Amy Nichols, thought he was home, fast asleep, back in Orlando when she lined up in the dark at the starting line at Sunday's Gasparilla half-marathon.

    "We've been together for eight years," said Bocanegra, 38. "We've been looking at rings … a lot of different designs, so I think she knew the day was coming."...

    Mike Bocanegra of Orlando takes a knee at the finish line of the half-marathon to propose to girlfriend Amy Nichols as soon as she completes the 13.1-mile race. Her response? “Yes.”
  5. Florida Supreme Court upholds net ban



    net ban upheld by florida supreme court

    The Florida Supreme Court denied a petition by the Wakulla Fishermen's Association that challenged the state's net ban amendment that was passed overwhelming by voters in 1994. The commercial fishermen won a circuit court ruling in 2013 that allowed them to briefly reintroduce gill nets into Florida waters. Many anglers credit the net ban amendment, passed by 72 percent of the electorate, with helping bring back mullet and other forage fish, as well as various gamefish, including red drum, spotted sea trout and snook....

  6. Fishing legends promote a cause for kids


    CLEARWATER — They say great minds think alike. So when three fishing legends got together on a party boat and were asked a simple question, it is not surprising they all had the same answer.

    "If you have one tip for the average angler, what would it be?" I asked Bill Dance, the 74-year-old host of Bill Dance Outdoors. Dance stopped for a moment, tipped the brim of his Tennessee Volunteers baseball cap, and said "Get there early and stay late."...

    Fishing legend Jimmy Houston shows 13-year-old Ty Harris, right, how “you have to give the fish some sugar” after Harris caught a grouper. Other legends present were Bill Dance and Roland Martin.
  7. Sailors head to Pier for NOOD Regatta


    ST. PETERSBURG — Marty Kullman has sailed all over the world in a variety of classes, but he always looks forward to February when the National Offshore One Design Regatta Series kicks off its season on the waters of Tampa Bay.

    "It is just a great event," said Kullman, who works for Quantum Sails. "It really brings out the best sailors from all over the U.S."

    Coming less than a month after Key West Race Week, the event, known as the NOOD Regatta, typically attracts a wide range of elite sailors who don't mind racing in Florida, especially when there's snow on the ground up north....

    Marty Kullman sails one of the more than 50 boats last week in the highly competitive J/70 class in the waters near the Davis Island Yacht Club.
  8. Proud father enjoys sons' powerboat success


    BRADENTON — Powerboat racer Terry Rinker stays calm, cool and collected flying across the water at 120 mph. But the Formula One icon does get a little nervous watching his sons race.

    "It is kind of nerve wracking," said Rinker, who has been a fixture on the professional powerboat circuit for 20 years. "Sitting it out on the sidelines is hard. Our sport has a great safety record, but in racing anything can happen. You just never know."...

    Today’s Bradenton Area Riverwalk Regatta on the Manatee River will feature Formula 2 powerboats and personal watercraft racers.
  9. Sailing championships set for Clearwater Beach


    World class sailing

    Head out to Clearwater Beach this weekend and see some of the fastest sailboats in the world. The North American Championships of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 will be held off Big Pier 60 today through Sunday. More than 140 competitors from 19 countries, many of them Olympic hopefuls, will seek to add North American titles to their skiff-sailing resumes. Clearwater is a top destination for Olympic-style racing. ...

  10. Raptor rapture in Tampa Bay


    ST. PETERSBURG — Standing in a parking lot of a deserted shopping center on a Sunday morning may not seem like your kind of outdoor adventure. But if you like bald eagles, this is a surefire way to see them.

    "He knows we are here," Gabe Vargo said, pointing at the beefy bird sitting atop the cell tower. "His mate's on the nest. Hopefully we won't scare them off."

    When I'm out on an adventure, there's nothing I like more than seeing a raptor in action. Most Floridians are used to seeing osprey, sometimes called a fish eagle or fish hawk. Driving over the Howard Frankland Bridge one recent morning, my keen-eyed son counted 20 of these princely birds perched atop the light poles....

    Patrick Bradley, volunteer head trainer at the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve’s birds of prey program, is shown with Abiaka, a bald eagle who resides at the preserve after getting injured in a fall from a nest in 2010.
  11. Snook season set to open, runs through May 31


    making news

    Snook season opens sunday through may 31

    Snook season opens Sunday in the Atlantic Ocean and coastal and inland waters from the Miami-Dade/Monroe county line north, including Lake Okeechobee and the Kissimmee River. The season runs through May 31. Anglers can keep one snook per day that is between 28 and 32 inches total length. To keep a fish, a snook permit and saltwater fishing license (unless the angler is exempt from the license requirements) is required. Only hook-and-line gear is allowed. Snook are one of the state's prized species so the FWC encourages anglers to use moderation when choosing whether to keep a fish. Turn the filleted carcasses over to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. For the county-by-county list, go to myfwc.com/research. Snook season will reopen in the Gulf of Mexico, including Everglades National Park and all of Monroe County, March 1. Anglers may catch and release snook during the closed season. ...

  12. Hillsborough River State Park a tranquil treasure


    HILLSBOROUGH RIVER STATE PARK — Standing on the banks of the prettiest waterway in Florida it's hard to imagine that this is the same river that flows through downtown Tampa.

    "A lot of people feel the same way," said Alex Kinder, who gave up a high-paying job in the financial industry for the solace of working in a state park. "It is almost like there are two different rivers."

    The Hillsborough, one of Florida's most popular paddling rivers, begins in the Green Swamp, east of Dade City and flows for 59 miles through Pasco and Hillsborough counties before emptying into Tampa Bay....

    Water flows at Hillsborough River State Park. Paddling and hiking are among the many activities, and the four hiking trails can be linked together for all-day fun. The river runs 59 miles through Pasco and Hillsborough counties, and empties into Tampa Bay.
  13. Survey helps state biologists monitor Gulf of Mexico fishing



    survey helps state biologists monitor gulf

    The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission needs help from offshore anglers. Sign up today to participate in the Gulf Reef Fish Survey, an easy, no-cost process that will help state biologists understand how many people are targeting grouper and other species in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as what anglers are seeing on the water....

  14. In Crystal River, get mellow with manatees


    CRYSTAL RIVER — Manatees don't like cold water or crowds. That's why Darren Wilkes recommended staying aboard the pontoon boat and finishing my cup of coffee.

    "Take your time," advised the veteran manatee tour captain. "Just chill out and relax. The manatees aren't going anywhere."

    Wilkes has been running the pontoon boat out of the Crystal Lodge Dive Center for more than 20 years. Every winter he gets his regulars, law students from Maryland, biologists from Tennessee and journalists like me hoping to get a few close-up pictures of the state's favorite Sirenian....

    It is not only bad manners to bother or harass a manatee, it's illegal. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has strict rules, especially in Kings Bay, regarding human-manatee interactions. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times]
  15. Take a hike for fitness, fun


    It took a backpacking trip to get Jim Burgasser back into running.

    The 45-year-old St. Petersburg man had been a serious road racer but drifted away from the sport he loved after he started a family.

    "You know how it goes … kids, work … they take up time," said Burgasser, a member of the Forerunners Track Club. "Next thing I knew I had been away from it for years."

    Then Burgasser's father-in-law suggested the two of them do a stretch of the Appalachian Trail. The historic footpath runs from Georgia to Maine through mountainous terrain, making it a challenge for flatlanders from Florida....

    Hillsborough River State Park has one of the best hiking trails in Florida. Located just a half-hour north of Tampa, hikers can see red-shouldered hawks and otters as they travel the “rapids” trail along the banks of the Hillsborough River.