Bahia Paddle Boards Light. Fast. Fun.
Born in St Petersburg Florida a peninsula that is surrounded by salt water, I was introduced to fishing and retail business at my dad’s fishing tackle shop at 3 years old.
As a kid I dreamed of going out on the water in a boat any boat, anything that would float, I wanted and would sacrifice for it, you name it I tried to float it, luckily I figured out how to be on the water and eat too.
This Inspired me to work to have access to this mecca of salt water any way I could and growing up in the fishing, then diving, paddling, surfing, water ski, windsurf, and kite boarding industries helped a lot too. I worked to excel in all of them and taught all of them.
I rebuilt boats, built boards, repaired all of it did more glass work than I can remember, but I still want to be on the salt water as much as possible to this day.
As a kid I was inspired by many notable characters in my life especially my mother and father but there were many important influences from outside my family that gave unselfishly and helped to form my evolution into an adult, and businessman.
My little league coaches, wrestling coaches, vocational high school teacher, dive college instructors, the dive boat captains, store owners, our sponsored athletes and a host of other characters all played a role in inspiring me along the right path in life.
As Watersports West evolved it occured to me that I wanted to give back to the community that had given to me. I didn’t know but my life would be changed One day over 12 years ago a young man named Andrew Hobbs visited the store and introduced himself as the new youth pastor at Pathways community church, he described his life as a journey from soccer player locally to the national professional stage with the Tampa Bay Rowdies, unfortunately his career cut short by a serious injury while playing. He told of the local pastor seeking him out for the youth pastor job, he said he was sent by God, Andrew accepted the job. Keep in mind at this time he had 4 kids of his own. Andrew quite the busy man I found out later had also been coaching soccer for many years . Andrew asked me If I could help with his windsurfing program, I gladly agreed and over the next months was able to fix up his existing gear and donate other equipment to keep him on the water, a year later Andrew came to me and said he had seen paddleboarding and wondered if we could convert the existing windsurfers to paddleboards, of course I agreed. One problem, there were no paddles being produced for paddleboarding at this time, Andrew suggested we could make our own. I couldn’t figure out how to make them but I called around and found some one who could, it was a canoe paddle manufacturer who at first declined to help us, but after many phone calls he relented and made up 36 orange 6’long handled canoe paddles. On arrival I called Andrew and he picked up the paddles. Two weeks later I am driving over the Belleair Causeway bridge and I look over and see this 150 yard line of boards heading east across the water, all with orange paddles and realized this it was Andrew.
I pulled over and watched as the whole group on old windsurfers pulled to the shore, everyone of them was laughing or smiling. I called my wife and told her and she said this is your sign to pursue helping make paddleboarding work as your mission for Andrew and Watersports West.
We dreamed of creating our own lineup of paddleboards and in 2015 Achieved that goal by starting BahiaSUP.com
For 2021 we are proud to introduce our lineup to the world, our inspiration from everyone has led us to this step in life.
Pastor Andrew Hobbs is now presiding at Catalina Island off the coast of California and still running a youth group there.
Our new Catalina board was invented to commemorate our relationship and thanks for the help and inspiration from Andrew, we still work with and help support his cause.