Archive for the ‘In the News’ Category

Posted: 11/12/2011

By: Ellen McNamara By: Ellen McNamara

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A national champion surfer and superb kayaker has never let obstacles get in his way.

Sean Fitzgibbon feels at home on the water, especially when he is paddling.

“There is so much to see out here while paddling,” Fitzgibbon said.

In fact he just got back from a 200 mile trip in Lee County.

He and Jeff Fabiszewski completed the journey. A trip that St. Petersburg Limb and Brace helped make possible. It is a business, Fitzgibbon knows well.

“My mother was on a drug for morning sickness, I was born without the fibula in my right leg,” Fitzgibbon said.

Fitzgibbon surprises a lot of people when he gets out of his kayak.

At the age of three, his leg was amputed.

Despite being different, his family always pushed him.

“They did stuff just to make me feel like I was a part of everything and they didn’t baby me at all,” Fitzgibbon said.

As a kid, he fell in love with surfing, and today is a four time national amputee champion.

When he is not surfing, you will find him guiding tours for Sweetwater Kayaks because he wants to share his love of the sport with others.

“Survivors move on, victims get left behind, and as a survivor you have to own it,” Fitzbiggon said.

If you have an athlete that you would like to see featured on Emac’s Amateur Athlete, send Ellen an email at or go to her Facebook page. Click “like” and then leave a comment.



Read more:

On June 23 2010 I wrote Oil…not in my backyard¬† “What will history books say about the Deepwater Horizon in the Gulf of Mexico exploding then sinking on April 20, 2010? How did the sinking of this oil rig and its ># month long oil fissure release > ###,###,### barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico?¬† The alarm clock is going off for all of us.¬† We are all culpably involved in the reason why the Gulf of Mexico is contaminated with oil.”

Sometimes I think that because money motivates all things perceived of as important, we are doomed to loose the things that are essential to life.  Below are two articles that the Surfrider Foundation collected.  I guess water, oil, and money are strange bedfellows.  The desire for more money decreases the need for water testing and increases the need for offshore oil drilling.

Florida has world class beaches and our unspoiled island sanctuaries are unique attractions.¬† What money cannot create is essential to life.¬† Our mission should be focused on saving wildlife through compassion, care, and education.¬† But fear of loosing money appears to be stronger than the fear of loosing nature.¬† –¬† Jeff


“The Florida Department of Health plans to quit testing ocean water for bacteria at 45 beaches statewide, to reduce spending. Beaches with fewer problems or low traffic will get axed from the program, which currently tests water quality at 304 beaches. The remaining sites will only be tested every other week. In addition to other cuts and cutbacks, Florida’s Department of Health will test only for enterococcus and won‚Äôt test for fecal coliform ‚ÄĒ which could also lead to fewer advisories being issued.” ¬† READ MORE


“ALEC has pushed hard to fight any limits on offshore drilling, claiming ‚Äúmore energy-efficient drilling and production methods practically eliminate spills from offshore platforms.‚Ä̬† In less than shocking news, a little more than a year after its negligence led to the despoilment of the Gulf of Mexico, oil giant B.P. is funding a right-wing lobbying group that opposes the regulation of offshore drilling.The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a powerful corporate front group that allows big corporations to help write legislation that it then delivers to state legislators across the country. ALEC is currently holding its annual conference in New Orleans, and it has been revealed that B.P., Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Shell are just a few of the many corporate funders behind ALEC.”¬†¬† READ MORE

kayaking pirates invade Pittsburgh

Posted: June 6, 2010 by Jeff Fabiszewski in In the News, out-of-state paddling

Saturday I helped Venture Outdoors, Kayak Pittsburgh, break the kayak world record at the Three Rivers Point in Pittsburgh.  I had the special pleasure of being a safety boat for this event.  It is interesting to admit that I am from Pittsburgh and I had never paddled my hometown waters.  So this was a special treat for me.  The weather reminded me more of Tampa than that of Pittsburgh because of the rain.  It rained before dawn.  And then just after we succeeded in having all of the kayaks and canoes on the water hold on to each other.

The time and effort that the volunteers put into this idea was unbelievable.  To think of an idea to get more than a thousand people together, get them in boats, and get them all to paddle into one spot, and hold on to each other is mind-blowing.  I only know of four capsizes during the event.  I say again 4 boats flipped over out of more than 2,000 kayaks+canoes.  Wow.

I have read several conflicting stories about the mayor of Pittsburgh joining in the event.  Some say he showed up at 1pm after everything had ended. Other sources claim he was in the middle of the mix with four body guard kayakers.   I also heard on the water of sightings of some of the local professional athletes.  I did not see any Penguins, Steelers, or Pirates,  but maybe they were out there.

An old Boy Scout friend was there taking pictures of the event.¬† He had called me while I was on the water and asked me to describe the kayak I was using so he could pick me out of the crowed.¬† My answer was…I am in a yellow Carolina 15 ft yellow kayak.¬† Guess at the number of yellow kayaks that were on the water… check out this gigapan

Again I want to thank the people of Pittsburgh for having this event, being overwhelmingly nice, and making me feel like a Pittsburgher again.

– Jeff

Venture Outdoors eyes kayak world record at Point on June 5 – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Canoe, kayak flotilla likely breaks world record

Pittsburgh’s Paddle at the Point

Watching and Waiting

Posted: May 9, 2010 by Sean Fitzgibbon in Florida Kayaking, Giving Back, In the News

Some who read and follow our site may wonder why Jeff and I have not mentioned the Oil Spill here in the Gulf of Mexico. “Those boys are usually right on top of breaking news that affects the water or kayakers?” or “Do they not know about it, surely they must!¬†” or possibly “Could it be they are just so wrapped up in their own little paddling world, they just don ‘t care!!!”

Well, the truth of the matter is that I have been monitoring the situation from the beginning or shall we say initial explosion on the rig. First and foremost, I am deeply sorry for the loss of life and missing workers that are still unaccounted for. I believe initial reports stated 11 missing. Have not heard anything to update or change that info. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families and friends.

Now for the next issue at hand; the Oil Spill is located off the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi and is still 300 miles north of the Pinellas County peninsula and Tampa Bay area. This does not mean that we are not being affected by the crisis, or that it is still too far away for us to care! As a paddler and Waterman I am deeply sadden and distressed by this situation. We could all point fingers at BP, the owners of the rig- would that actually do any good? Might make us feel better to have someone to blame. Now is not the time.

It is my thought that we as Kayakers, Surfers, Mariners, Fisherman/woman, Sailors, Marine Scientists, Water Lovers, Wildlife Warriors, and the list goes on; should all be coming together right now to defend our marine wildlife and shorelines. This seems to be exactly what is happening at this very moment 300 miles north of where I sit writing this posting. HOORAH! Thank You to all those already on the frontlines coastlines!!!! We Salute Your Efforts.

I will close this posting by letting all who know Jeff and I, know that WE are  keeping a close eye and ear on the news. We are hoping and praying that they get this thing sealed off and can continue with clean-up so that the oil does not make it into the Loop Current and send it heading towards us, the Keys, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean where it could be strewn to all-over-God-knows-where! There has already been enough damage to the environment, but if the spill does make it into the Loop Current and eventually towards the Suncoast of Florida- rest assured that Jeff and Sean will be doing their part to help with any clean-up efforts that we can. Including but not limited to wildlife washing or helping to place booms along our coasts, even supporting the clean-up crews with water/and food.

We will keep our readers updated as soon as we know more on the situation!

Till then watching & waiting, Sean

PS. Below is a Letter from Tampa Bay Watch