Watersports such as parasailing and paddle boarding keep tourists flowing to South Florida area beaches, but it's far from a day at the beach for some of the firms that provide the fun.
An ongoing battle over paddles and a recent parasail theft highlight just how fiercely some of Fort Lauderdale's watersport companies compete for tourist dollars, especially during Spring Break.
But as some of these companies struggle to survive in a down economy, that competition has become more turbulent and cunning, said Tim Schiavone, longtime owner of the historic Parrot Lounge.
"The beach has always had its flair for competition, but it's become really crazy lately," he said. "It's just like in every industry that's trying to make it in this economy. There are too many dogs and not enough bones."
Mario St-Cyr says his problems with business rivals began about three years ago when the he quit his real estate business in hopes of cashing in on the paddle board craze.
The wave that earned Ken "Skindog" Collins a nomination in the 2011/12 Billabong XXL Big Wave surfing awards Thursday just found him.
Collins was nominated in the Monster Paddle category for a wave he caught at Maverick's on Feb. 8. The wave, which he estimates at 40 to 45 feet, was a rogue that found him while he was sitting far out on the shoulder, trying to regroup after four waves pounded down on him during an earlier attempt.
"I didn't want to catch a wave. I went way out to get my bearings straight," Collins said. "Within 10
Professional surfer Ken Collins makes his way out of the water at the Pillar Point Harbor after a memorial paddle out for Hawaiian big wave surfer Sion Milosky on the one-year anniversary of his death at Maverick's, Friday. (Jon Weiand/Sentinel)Professional surfer Ken Collins makes his way out of the water at the Pillar Point Harbor after a memorial paddle out for Hawaiian big wave surfer Sion Milosky on the one-year anniversary of his death at Maverick's, Friday. (Jon Weiand/Sentinel)
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Paddles and Boards has been providing paddle boarding lessons and free demos and tours in South Florida since 2008. We are also the organizers and creators of the only Florida Paddle Boarding Club with approx. three hundred members and growing. P&B Inc. offers lessons which will give our clients an excellent foundation into the sport and teach them the skills needed to get started.
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