Paddleboarding on the Riverfront

Bryan Jones

Photo by Andrea Zadrozny

Looking out over the river from the Dolphin Green it is sometimes possible to see dolphins playing around. This past week, it was possible to see Dolphins splashing around in the water. The surfing and sailing clubs at Jacksonville University co-hosted a free paddle boarding event open to all students on Wednesday, February 29, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm.

“It was to encourage the use of the waterfront and water sports in general,” said Mike Viprino, president of the surfing club.

The faculty adviser of the sailing club Steven Davis, Ph.D., is an associate professor of education. He originally planned the event. He was at the river windsurfing on Wednesday supervising. Davis says he put the event together with the help of a local expert and a representative from World Industries Surfing.

“It was a great time,” said freshman Danny O’Connor. “For those that didn’t make it missed out on a great time.”

Ty Miller from Sunrise Surf Shop, located on Beach Blvd. in Jacksonville Beach, brought 30 paddleboards for students to try out. Viprino said approximately 30 people showed up to the event over the hour and a half.

“It was really fun,” said Viprino. “People really want to do it again.”

The surfing club, started in 2011, already has 25 active members.

As a freshman, Viprino was surprised to see that there was not already a surf club in existence on the JU campus, especially with all the upperclassmen who surf.

“We have some of the best beach breaks on the east coast of Fla.,” Viprino said. “I thought that there should be a group to organize all the surfers at JU to get together.”

The last surf club at JU was disbanded in 2003 when its members all graduated. Viprino hopes to continue getting the surfing club together to participate in several kinds of events, such as surfing trips and beach clean-ups.

To join the surfing club requires a 30-dollar membership fee, which gets members a t-shirt, a VIP membership card to a Jacksonville Beach surf shop and two all-day surf lessons. The next meeting is Mar. 8.

Freshman Ty Howard enjoyed trying out the paddle boards.

“The sun was out and all my friends were there,” Howard said.