Florida's Own Native Son: You know how when you visit Florida, and then you think, "Wow, I wonder what it would be like to live here?" Well it is as amazing as it appears, especially if you love the outdoors, nature, wildlife, marine creatures, beautiful scenery, warm brilliant sunshine, blue skies, and water everywhere! And if you paddle, then Florida affords infinite unique opportunities to be in constant awe of your surroundings. Yet we all become desensitized. Lets call it e-blivion. (wait, somebody hashtag that!) We can find ourselves letting days, even weeks pass, without even once, just looking around. Sad.
So you might think that after being born and raised here in a little beach town on Florida's Gulf Coast; after going to school, growing up, working and living your life in paradise, day in and day out, that a person might, at least on occasion, ignore a dolphin sighting or two.
Well, if we're talking about Paddleboard Chris, then you would be completely wrong. Imagine that.
Chris Emmert is a guy who you like the instant you meet him. The excitement in his eyes says something is going on that you can tell is really fun. And you want to be involved somehow. His calm, humble and modest manner is true Florida at its finest. You can see that he genuinely likes people, and seems to find interest in the differences between each individual he encounters. And when you begin to understand his motivations and ambitions, that's when you realize that he, more than any other, appreciates the natural beauty and wonders of his home state and its incredible diversity. Chris wants to see it all. Every stingray. Every mangrove lined sandy beach. Every dolphin.
His mission is simple. Explore. Adventure. Paddle. Photograph. Share everything he sees with everyone he can.
Yeah really. In fact I asked Chris when he agreed to serve as our company Spokesperson, what we at DeckBagZ could do for him, as far as reciprocating for his time and efforts was concerned.
Know what he said? "I don't really want anything, I am just stoked to be associated with DeckBagZ, and just looking forward to turning people on to paddleboarding, your beautiful DeckBagZ gear, and all the amazing places and sights I get to go see and enjoy on my paddling adventures."
Speaking of which, meet Melinda Smith: Behind every great man theres a woman who's good at putting up with her man's... well, you know. Allow us to introduce Melinda Smith, Chris' fellow adventurer, paddler, travel companion, amazing photographer. Two of a kind. They inspire eachother, they challenge and encourage eachother, they share every moment they can. Perfectly matched, perfectly balanced, in perfect harmony. A chief contributor to Chris' project, Native Son Photography, Melinda has an eye for photography like none other we've met. Striking photos from scenes you and I would overlook or dismiss as nothing. Her eye for light, color, balance, contrast, content and depth is a gift. Wait 'til you see some of the images these two amazing people have already provided for us. This is going to be an incredible virtual outdoor coastal Florida tour by paddleboard, and we can't wait to get going!
Paddleboard Chris' Paddling History and Resume: Chris has been paddleboarding since 2012. Just 11 years after famous surfer Laird Hamilton reinvented the ancient activity. Two years later, Chris began training seriously on his boards. Since those days, he has operated his SUP instruction and touring company Native Son Paddle Company, and has taught countless paddlers over the years. Fueled by his love for paddleboarding, he has also accumulated a very impressive list of accomplishments.
- ACA Certified Instructor
- Five Star Rated
- 5th Season Training
- Ambassador to the iconic Suncoast Surf Shop (Treasure Island FL)
- Ambassador to 27 North USA Paddle Manufacturer
- Paddleboard LIfeguard at Swim Across America Events
- Participant in Paddle Against Cancer Benefits
- Master Instructor at Surfers for Autism
- Instructor for Wounded Warrior Project Paddle Clinic
- Former Head Instructor for Water Monkey SUP (owned by pro racer Chase Kosterlitz)
- Paddleboarder.com's "Paddleboard Standout of the Month"
So why Chris Emmert? Because we could not have asked for a better qualified, more enthusiastic representative of the DeckBagZ vibe, the coastal lifestyle, the local Florida flavor, and the fantastic recreational sport of paddleboarding itself. His desire to share this sport, the beauty of the world, his genuine exitement and joy for life every single day is inspirational, and we are honored to be associated with such a pure soul!
Thank you Paddleboard Chris, for coming onboard with our DeckBagZ CREW! We are so glad you're energy is part of our brand and our vibe!
(So while we are here, trying not to sew our thumbs together making gear, Chris and Melinda will show you our beautiful world!)
-DeckBagZ May 21, 2018