02 Nov Never Stop Exploring
With ardor most guys reserve for their first car, Russell Farrow recalls his first kayak, a British sea-touring rig he paddled from Pensacola to Siesta Key in 1993. “That’s when the bug really bit me,” he says. “I was able to see and go places others can’t. The feeling of freedom was huge – the hook was definitely set.”
It’s also when he befriended world-renowned paddler, Nigel Foster, the first kayaker to circle Iceland; the two became partners in Sweetwater Kayaks on Siesta Key. Farrow later moved and expanded the business he now owns into a full-service store close to Weedon Island Preserve, where he also rents kayaks for exploring that paddling paradise.
An Army brat, Farrow anchored here when his dad was transferred to MacDill Air Force Base in the 70s. He took up paddle-camping, mountain biking, and guitar in college at USF – and still plays in a band. The rugged outdoorsman who once paddled Labrador and the Baltic Sea now enjoys day-trips from Fort DeSoto to Anna Maria Island — a bay crossing best left to expert paddlers.
Did You Know? From scenic rivers and mangrove creeks to the open bay, Tampa Bay has more than 60 marked and unmarked “blueway” trails for paddlers to enjoy.
Photo By: Kathleen Finnerty