Paddle Boarding Florida’s Backwaters by Gabe Gray

Connecting with Mother Nature, Protecting her Environment

GABE 1It’s blazing, hot…beads of sweat roll down my face as birds chirp crazily in the cypress trees. I paddle towards a piece of styrofoam, and an 8ft alligator swims a few feet off, spooked…relief because there’s one less piece of trash in the water and I still have my arm!

My name is Gabriel and I am a member of Team Greens+. I was born and raised on a farm in North Florida and spent most of my child hood exploring the local rivers and lakes in the area. My teenage years were influenced by the Wassica River and the Gulf of Mexico; fishing, hunting, surfing, free diving, tracking, and rodeo were the norm when I was not helping my dad on the farm.  I developed an early passion and respect for Mother Nature and the ocean at an early age, learning to survive off of the land around me. I added the sport of paddle boarding as one of my passions in life and became a WPA class 2 instructor in 2011.

You too can explore Florida’s Natural Wonders

Wanting to share this exciting sport and guide modern day explorers through the Florida outdoors my wife and I started a local ‘mom and pop’ paddle board company, Walkin’ on Water Paddleboards, that provides Eco-tours and lessons. In the beginning of 2012 I was asked to become a team member and rider with Mother Ocean offering my skills to the Expedition Florida 500 in handling the logistics, mapping and expedition paddling. This is all just the beginning for my back country touring; I plan on adding overnight trips in North Florida and doing some bigger personal expeditions next year.

GABE 2Stay tuned to this blog as I share our experiences in the sport of Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) and the exploration side of things like survival tips, skills of the month and cool stories from my travels and interviews with people in the industry. I hope you will enjoy the column, begin to explore our waterways, appreciate more time with Mother Nature, and give this amazing sport a try.

Up next: The 5 Properties of Living Water

Coming soon: Camu Kaze – Pineapple Green Tea


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