I have a confession to make: we now have in stock, brand spanking new, custom, Mad Beach Paddle Sports paddle boards, for sale to the public. Why should you care? Why should this be of interest to you? Because it's 2020, and there's always a story to go along with the freak show that is the Covacalypse. It's been dang hard to buy a SUP this year! Why is that?
What me and my family now call the 2020 Death and Destruction Tour the polite people in the media call a global pandemic. The infection rate continues to climb and unemployment is rampant. There's protests in the streets over systemic racism, mask requirements and election results. In the midst of this turmoil, news outlets across the country have sounded the alarm on an unintended consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Fox News Business, 76% of Americans have averaged a weight gain of 16 pounds since the shut-down, and 63% of Americans surveyed after the shut-down was lifted have admitted that they are now prioritizing weight loss to counteract the gains they incurred during the early days of the crisis.
Which brings me back to my original question. Why is it so hard to find outdoor equipment, or any exercise equipment, these days?
For those of us @madbeachpaddlesports, the answer was not immediately clear. We have always strived to offer the best equipment possible to our guests. To that end, we typically purchase new stock about once a year and sell our used inventory. Our goal is twofold. First, to offer our customers the best, and, secondly, to sell our used stock while it's still in great shape to avoid unpleasant customer calls after the sale. Pretty straightforward plan, don't you think?
In 2019 one of our most reliable vendors was running a sale, specifically, offering free shipping, which was HUGE. We get wholesale pricing but the shipping was no joke: 14 foot box, anyone? So, even though it hadn't yet been a year, we jumped on it and placed our order. Fast forward to 2020. The pandemic is upon us and though we hadn't been shut down yet, the writing was on the wall. We start our hard push to sell our used boards. Unlike previous years, it's a breeze. What used to take weeks now take mere days. In fact, there's such a demand that we buy even more SUPS to resell at a modest profit.
Welcome to Spring Break 2020. The weather is perfection. This is our month. Our money month. The month I have to remind my partner about come September and we're twiddling our thumbs. Since, dear reader, you lived through it, you know where I'm going. Like the rest of the country, we're shut down. To keep our heads above water and the staff on the payroll, we start selling our inventory, confident that when the pandemic is over, we can restock and move on.
When we are allowed to reopen, I place a replenishment order with my fave vendor and they go silent. Crickets, man. I order with another vendor that we've used before only to find that they didn't receive the stock they had hoped for and were no longer selling to wholesalers. Hoped for? Wha? So, I call my third vendor, my backup, the-boards-are-decent-I-can-live-with-them-vendor. No reply. Nothing. This stings on a personal level as I thought we were friends. He grew up in the same town as I did in Cali. (Ok. Yes. I did have a mini fantasy that surfer dude and and I would hook up but that's not the point of this post. Focus, people!)
Having received no explanation for these shortages, I did what many people do and turned to the internet. (Because, ya know, if it's on the internet, it must be true.) The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported on June 26, 2020 that the, "Coronavirus shut down outdoor gear factories across the U.S. and Asia for months." Speaking to the issue of sporting equipment shortages, Scott Yule, of Fitness Showrooms in Long Island, NY, said, "It's across the board. It's everything...I've been doing this for 23 years and there's nothing to compare it to." (Newsday, 8/11/20) Poppy Nour of the Guardian noted, "It looks like workout equipment in the new toilet paper." (June 11, 2020)
Bored yet? I'm getting there! Stay with me! The bottom line is that many companies, afraid of the financial impact of the pandemic, placed reduced orders. Add to that the spike in demand for anything that can get people outdoors, and you have a recipe for finding yourself at a big box store wondering if you should buy the cheap inflatable SUP, knowing you're going to have to pump it up every time you use it. For those of you still awake, the conclusion is this: nobody bought enough, out of fear. Then everyone wanted something, out of fear. Except, @madbeachpaddlesports, BECAUSE I SPENT THE LOCKDOWN DRINKING AND SHOPPING LIKE A NORMAL PERSON, and had custom boards manufactured that are badass and the best we've ever had. It took me six months and copious amounts of Tequila, but they're here and they're beautiful! And, if you want one and you live locally, you're in luck. And if you want one and you live out of state, you can still buy one but you have to pay for shipping. (14' box :)
I'll leave you on this note. Don't make decisions out of fear. (I know, that is HILARIOUS!) Lastly, the best quote I've read during this whole crazy year is from Darren Bush, of @rutabagapaddlesports, in Morona, WI. "Business is just life, with accounting." Damn, Darren. You're a sage.
Be safe, everybody. And buy a board!
Picture this: it's springtime in St Petersburg, Florida. The shorebirds and gulls of Florida's Gulf Coast sing their sweet tune, awakening you to the bright, blue sky and the crystal clear waters that meet it at the horizon. It's sunny and 75 degrees, and the sound of the waves lapping against the powdered sugar sand beckons you outside; but what should you do? If it's spring time in 2020, a paddle board adventure might be the perfect experience for you.
Whether booking a tour or renting some boards for your own excursion, a paddle board trip is a great way to experience the beauty and richness of Florida's Gulf Coast. If you're not sure where to go, then look no further, because we have compiled a list of the 4 best paddle boarding spots in the Madeira Beach/ Treasure Island area-just don't forget to pack your sunscreen!
1. Eleanor Island
Located right off the shores of Madeira Beach, Eleanor Island is an alluring mangrove island the serves as a nature preserve and bird sanctuary. While human contact with the actual island is forbidden, the shallows around the island are a great place to stop, take a break and observe the numerous species of birds that call Florida home. Additionally, for those that have a hankering for the supernatural, Eleanor Island is said to be haunted. As the story goes, some local fisherman dug up some human remains there is the mid-19th century. They continued to dig to find hidden treasures, thinking that the island could possibly be an old Indian burial mound, however broken pottery shards and bones were all they were able to uncover. Presently, some locals say that they have seen mysterious green lights around the area where the bones were found. Haunter or not, this spot is a definite must-see location on your paddle board excursion.
2. Little Bird Key
Another dazzling location for nature lovers, Little Bird Key is a small island north of John's Pass that houses numerous species of birds, including Brown Pelicans, Black Crowned Night Herons and Roseate Spoonbills. This is another bird sanctuary that won't disappoint. Park your SUP or kayak in the shallow grass flats and observe the lush mangroves of this bird foraging habitat. Who knows? You might even encounter a dolphin or two!
3. John's Pass Sandbar
The John's Pass Sandbar is a personal favorite. Prior to the current social restrictions implemented by the CDC to prevent the spread of the Covid 19 coronavirus, it was a great place to relax and mingle with family and friends and other friendly beachgoers. With the restrictions in place, it's still a great spot as long as there are few people around and you're maintaining the required 6 foot distance from others. If the appropriate social distancing measures are being adhered to and you're able to camp out for a bit, don't forget to pack a cooler! As always, safety first! So be wise and use your best judgement.
4. Archie's Island
Located in Boca Ciega Bay, Archie's Island got its name from a local dog who absolutely adored it. About 12 years ago, Archie's family started taking him boating around the island, and every time he would excitedly jump off the boat and swim to the shore. Archie loved the island because he could run around freely, and his family erected a cement sign on the island giving it his name; ever since, the island has become known as Archie's Island. Unfortunately, Archie passed away in 2017 at the age of 13, but his family still enjoys visiting the island and considers it a memorial to their beloved four-legged friend. Archie's Island is dog friendly, and whether you have four legs or two, this spot is a great place to soak up the sun or play in the water like Archie.
Until next time...we'll see you on the water!
It's raining today so I'm in the office instead of on the dock. I been poking around online today and found our page on Apple Maps, which is supported through YELP. I noticed a new review. It's a 4-star rated review. I'm happy with the review and rating, but it makes me wonder why YELP shows this 4-star rated review while it hides fourteen 5-star rated reviews. I'm not very happy about it.
Let's take a minute to review YELP (get ready Groupon, you're next)
In the beginning I reviewed myself... Now I know better. I mean, the review was true. We offer great, flexible service and quality equipment, but of course it's biased. I'm not gonna leave myself a bad review. So I get it, that review is hidden on YELP. But what about some of these?
Here's what they say:
"We get millions of reviews from our users, so we use automated software to recommend the ones that are most helpful for the Yelp community. The software looks at dozens of different signals, including various measures of quality, reliability, and activity on Yelp. The process has nothing to do with whether a business advertises on Yelp or not. The reviews that currently don't make the cut are listed below and are not factored into this business's overall star rating."
Here's some non 'recommended' reviews