Jimmy has been paddling kayaks for about 7 years. He found his way to paddling the way many people seem to -- looking for a great physical outlet that can be enjoyed without so much risk of injury. He was previously a weight lifter but after suffering a shoulder injury, he took up marathon running. This too led to injury and interruption of his fitness endeavors. It was then that he found kayaking.
Initially he began his paddle adventures on a 14 foot, plastic sit-on-top kayak. He paddled this boat in his home town of Lafayette, Louisiana for about two years, during which time he came to love his time on the water. He upgraded his boat to a 17 foot sea kayak. At that time he started doing a few races. Notably he took first place on his sea kayak at Battle on the Bayou in 2012. He also participated in Bluz Cruz -- a 22 mile race down the Mississippi River.
After paddling the sea kayak for about a year, he upgraded to an Epic V8 surfski. He found it to be faster and hassle-free and has been paddling it since. As a “lifelong” cajun, he paddles on the Vermillion River (actually a bayou), and Bayou Teche. He loves the remote area where he lives and paddles and enjoys the wildlife along the bayous, especially the alligators. As his paddling skills increase, he is working on transitioning to an Epic V10 Sport soon.
As the owner and operator for 25 years of the Hub City Diner in Lafayette (one of the top ten diners in all of Louisiana) , Jimmy understands hospitality. He finds unmatched hospitality in the paddle community and enjoys the camaraderie with other paddlers. As he says, “some of these people you paddle with, you see only once or twice a year, but it is always like meeting a long-lost friend.” The generosity of the paddle community is demonstrated in an experience Jimmy had at the Bluz Cruz in 2014. On the night before the race, the owner of the bed and breakfast where he was staying approached Jimmy at 8:30 p.m. while Jimmy was eating dinner to tell him that a 150 year old oak tree on the property randomly split and crashed down on his vehicle holding his V8. The tree had split his boat in two. By 10:00 p.m. that evening, Jimmy had already received four offers of boats to borrow for the race the next day!
Next time you are in the Lafayette area, stop by and see Jimmy at Hub City Diner, or find him paddling on the bayous!