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On the Road

World Paddle Info


Archive for June 2013

Indian River Lagoon- Paddler’s Planet-SUP Radio

Leslie Kolovich and Christian Wagley for The Paddler's PlanetHow healthy are the local waterways where you paddle? Unfortunately, in many places, rivers, bays, and streams are suffering from a host of ailments caused by human activities. So this week on The Paddler’s Planet, Leslie and Christian talk about what’s happening to one of America’s most unique waterways—the Indian River Lagoon in Florida—and how the problems of the Lagoon are similar to those in many of our favorite coastal waters.


The Indian River Lagoon is a shallow body of water extending for 156 miles along Florida’s southeast coast, connecting to the Atlantic Ocean through inlets. The Lagoon is famous as the most diverse estuary in North America, with more species of plants and animals than any other. While some 350 species of fish swim the Chesapeake Bay, 600 species are found in the Lagoon.


The Lagoon was an amazing place for thousands of years, with rich meadows of seagrass and an abundance of fish, scallops, and other marine life that fed native Americans and Florida’s early European settlers. But dramatic changes have occurred through the 20th Century, and especially in just the past few years.

Indian River Lagoon, Florida

Photo by US Fish and Wildlife Service


As Florida was developed for agriculture and to accommodate new residents, its beautiful natural drainage system of wetlands and rivers was replumbed to drain the land. As a result, the Lagoon receives much more freshwater than it did in the past. And that water carries nutrients that are likely contributing to a major imbalance.


In 2011, more than half of the Lagoon’s seagrasses were smothered and killed as a huge algae bloom spread across the waters. This was followed by record numbers of dead manatees and dolphins. While scientists are still sorting-out the exact cause or causes, it is clear that nutrients from fertilizers are a major contributor to the problems. As always, paddlers are on the front lines in observing the changes and rallying to action to save the Lagoon. Tune-in for the full discussion, this week on The Paddler’s Planet.

Enjoy the podcast now:


You can listen on Stitcher Radio and iTunes too!

Special Olympics Florida SUP Coaches Training School-SUP Radio

Special Olympics FloridaHey there!  This is Leslie Kolovich and joining me today is MJ Weibling and Ruth Holland with Special Olympics Florida.  The state is 3 counties shy for the numbers needed to make Stand Up Paddling an official sport for the state.  They are coming to the panhandle July 13, 14 and 15th to provide free coaches training in efforts to get the necessary county programs running.  This is a wonderful opportunity.

Ruth and MJ give us a overview of what Special Olympics is, and how it provides more than just sport programs, it provides life skills.  They also talk about specifically how they have seen Stand Up Paddling help their athletes grow in other sports.

Listen in for details of becoming a Special Olympic SUP Coach in your area.  Also for more information and register please visit sofl.org

The schedule:  These are 6 hours training sessions, classroom, and water time including water safety.

Saturday July 13th:  Location:  YOLO Board+ Beach in Miramar Beach

Sunday July 14th: Location:  Walkin’ On Water Paddleboards in Carillon Beach, Panama City Beach

Monday July 15th:  Location: Coastal Paddleboards in Gulf Breeze

Enjoy the Podcast now:

Also on Stitcher Radio and iTunes


Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia Sadden By The Loss Of Kellie Scarponi

Kellie Scarponi in 2009 before gastric bypass

Kellie Scarponi in 2009 before gastric bypass

It is with great sadness that I write to say the SUP Community has lost an amazing person. Kellie Scarponi passed away December 26, 2014. I had the honor of interviewing her back in the summer of 2013 as she explained how stand up paddling changed her life. She was full of joy and excitement. She will be missed by her loving family and the Hervey Bay community very, very much. Peace and Love to all who were touched by Kellie’s life. Rest in peace dear one you will not be forgotten.~Leslie Kolovich

The original show was title, “Gastric bypass and Stand Up Paddling” posted June 24, 2013. 

Enjoy the podcast now:

Hey there!  I’m Leslie Kolovich and joining me today from Hervey Bay, Queensland Australia is Kellie Scarponi.  Kellie is an amazing woman who tells us her story of a lifetime of being overweight, yo-yo dieting, and dangerously close to heart failure.  She made the decision to have gastric bypass surgery 3 years ago which literally saved her life.  At her highest weight of just over 304 pounds she found herself in the hospital with a heart attack. Kellie is a Registered Nurse, researched all her options, and understood the drastic measures of the surgery she would undergo.Kellie Scarponi June 2013

She now has lost a total of 165 pounds and feels her life was given back to her.  However, just when she didn’t think life could get any better, she found Stand Up Paddling!  Just a year ago she stepped on a board and like most she loved it!  Paddling gave her that boost from great to fantastic!   “The feeling I get when I’m paddling on the water, is a feeling like none other has ever given me” she says sincerely.  Kellie paddles 7 days a week, with a whole new outlook, a whole new community and eager to share the passion!  This sport is a lifestyle, good for your mind, body and spirit!  Way to go Kellie!  You look fantastic!

She talks about her SUP Community in Hervey Bay, and shares with us an event they are hosting in July to raise funds and awareness for whale conservation.  Kellie says Australians are very much into conservation, and are getting excited about doing their part for the planet as watermen and waterwomen!  She is trying to organize a satellite event to partner with World Paddle For The Planet here in Panama City Beach, Florida!

I so enjoyed speaking with Kellie!  Her enthusiasm is contagious!


Becoming An Ethical Fisherman, The Paddler’s Planet-SUP Radio

Leslie Kolovich and Christian Wagley for The Paddler's PlanetThis week on The Paddler’s Planet, it’s time to talk about ethical fishing. Many of us fish from kayaks, canoes, and even paddleboards. And even those who don’t fish are concerned about the well-being of our precious marine life and want to make sure that fish are handled properly so they can live to swim another day. Leslie and Christian find out that there are lots of easy things that can be done to turn a regular fisherman into an ethical one.

Photo by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission




Being an ethical fisherman begins by being prepared before even going out on the water. Know the rules and regulations for different fish species where you’re fishing, and be sure to bring along a yardstick or tape measure. It’s also good to have a chart with drawings of local species so that you can be sure to properly identify your catch, as regulations vary from species to species. Your local bait and tackle shop is a great place to go for this type of information.


Dehooking by Ken Chambers

Dehooking by Ken Chambers


It’s also really important to use fishing tackle that’s easier on the fish, and one of the best ways to do that is to use circle hooks. As the name says, these hooks are shaped in a circular pattern, and are used with live bait. Circle hooks usually hook the fish in the lip, making release easy. Using non-stainless steel hooks is also best, allowing any hook that breaks off in a fish’s mouth or throat to quickly rust away.


Once a fish is caught and brought alongside, removing the hook and gently handling the fish is very important. Be sure to wet hands in the water before handling the fish, and try to remove the hook with the fish in the water. If the hook has been swallowed, cut the line as close as possible to the hook before releasing the fish.




Enjoy the Podcast now:

Alex Manne Paddles 310 Miles Down The Allegheny River-SUP Radio

Alex Manne. Photo by JJ Imagery Miami

Alex Manne. Photo by JJ Imagery Miami

Hey there!  This is Leslie Kolovich and joining me today is Alex Manne.  On Friday June 14th he completed 310 miles down the Allegheny River in 10 days.  He started this journey in Cloudersport PA as just something he wanted to see if he could do.  He had been full time in the Army for 11 years, and now part time in the Army National Guard so his fitness, and understanding of survival are keen.  He experienced rain and very cold temperatures, and in the beginning the river was rough with rapids, that dumped him and his gear a few times.  His surf style Hobie 11’6″  SUP board got banged up, but never failed him.

Alex Manne portage

One of many portages on the Allegheny River

The Allegheny River

The Allegheny River












It’s interesting to me as I talk with Alex, he really had no expectations of this trip other than starting it and finishing it.  He describes for us the people that he met, the scenery, the portages, carrying his board and gear over a mile, paddling sometimes up to 50 miles a day with the river’s strong current, finding places to sleep along the banks, and then making it to Pittsburg just as he had hoped for the sunset.  In this interview, you will also hear how Alex finds purpose in this paddle.  It really was more than “just finishing”.

Pittsburg the final destination

Alex pulls into Pittsburg for the sunset after 310 miles on the river!


I think his story goes along with a question I ask in my column, The Paddler’s Planet,  in the The Paddler ezine, “Does paddling create passionate people or are passionate people drawn to paddling?”

It was an honor talking with Alex.  What he accomplished on this river was big!  You can check out his blog about this trip and see more beautiful photography of the river at http://alleghenysup.wordpress.com

His adventures do not end on the Allegheny River.  Alex heads west to Seattle to meet Mt Rainer, then to British Columbia’s spectacular Tofino surf.  In July Alex will also “run with the bulls” in Spain.  Yes, I asked him the same question you are thinking right now.  His answer, “you gotta live your life”.

Enjoy the podcast now:


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