Given the harshness of the bitter cold New England weather we experienced this weekend, I enjoyed writing this blog as it brought back some warm memories of our visit to Ft. Walton Beach and Destin Florida. While there we met the crew at Bote Board. I was excited about this trip for a while and thanks to Ryan Hewson at MOCEAN it became a reality. Bote manufactures some really great boards for both surfing and SUP (racing, yoga, & fishing) and MOCEAN carries the Bote brand for all your SUP needs
After 5 years with my Surftech Bark Pro Elite, I have decided to change my board for racing. Don’t get me wrong, the Surftech Bark was and is a great board. It has helped me place in many races and carried me across the bay for the Cape Cod Bay Challenge for the past three years but it is time to move on. Our trip to Ft. Walton started with a tour of the Bote store and factory. We walked into the store and it was the same feeling you’d have as a little kid walking into Disney World for the first time. The front of the building serves as a retail shop and consists of just rows and rows of beautiful new boards and older boards, all with a story, hung from the rafters. There is also an old beater family station wagon turned surf mobile, complete with a set of cattle horns on the grill. You may see this wagon in their advertisements or at trade shows.
Upon my arrival, we were greeted by a friendly staff and introduced to David Feliciano, Customer Relations Manager. David took us on a tour of the back of the building and walked us through the process of how the boards are made in the Darkroom which is their R&D facility where they test their new designs and work with customers on developing custom race boards. This tour was very cool and something I was very privileged to see first hand. From there, Brett and I were brought down to the water to demo out several boards from the Wraith, 3 sizes of the Darkroom and the board that was made specifically built for Josh Collins, of Operation Phoenix. Josh is paddling from Texas to New York to raise awareness and funds for those suffering from TBI and PTSD. To learn more about Josh’s story and to see how you can help, please visit: https://www.boteboard.com/operation-phoenix/
Bote provides boards for all levels of paddlers so my husband was able to find a board that fits his comfort zone and I was able to get the feel of a faster board by trying out boards with a narrower width. It was a great day out on the water trying out each board and getting the feel for the different lengths, shapes and widths. The next day, David took us out in Destin Harbor where a little race training was put into place and I really got to get the feel of the Bote Darkroom 12’6 / 25” board and yes I am in love. Chasing after David down through the harbor, I was comfortable on the board, and I got the feel how the nose cuts through the water. You are always told to look where you are paddling but it was mesmerizing to watch the nose cut through the water that I would catch myself looking down and not looking ahead. Brett and I would like to send a huge thank you to David and everyone at Bote for a great weekend and for helping me decide on the board that I will be racing on this year. We would also like to say thank you to Pete Buzzelli for designing my new board. I can’t wait to paddle on it and we look forward to visiting again to do some paddling with the Bote crew.
This weekend also gave me the opportunity to add some mileage to my 100 miles in a 100 days (minus the wet suit). As of that weekend, I have put in 14.5 miles and we have a warm weekend coming up to get more mileage. This time of year, you really have to plan your paddling around the weather but you also can fit in other ways to train such as a CrossFit, Yoga and Indo Board.
If you think you are interested in Stand Up Paddle Boarding keep MOCEAN in mind for your boards and paddleboard accessories. Team MOCEAN will be out this spring and summer putting on Demo days, tours and lessons. Be sure to check out their website for local events and like them on Facebook and Instagram for updates on these events, www.moceancapecod.com