Paddling Fanatics: An Interview With John Houston
John Houston is an island native who is the owner of Adventure Sea Kayak and SUP on Captiva. A true outdoorsman, when he’s not paddling, he enjoys traveling, surfing, yoga, snorkeling and free diving, fishing, and living life to the fullest. We sat down with him to talk about the joy of spending time on the water.
How many years have you been paddling?
For as long as I can remember. I started paddling professionally and taking people on trips when I was 18 – that was 22 years ago.
Who introduced you to paddling?
My Father, Brian Houston, has always been involved in the paddle sports industry and started my sister and me out young. He was the founder and mastermind behind the Captiva Sea Kayak Classic, made up of 12 and 6 mile races. It was an annual event for many years. He also took us on trips all over Florida, to spring runs like Ichetucknee, Juniper Springs, Blue Springs, and Silver Springs, to name a few. We spent every Sunday paddling from our house on Dinkins Bayou to Blind Pass for fun beach days.
What is your favorite place to paddle?
In and around Buck Key. I also enjoy exploring Blind Pass Channel, Roosevelt Channel, Wulfert Point, Dinkins Bayou, and the grass flats and oyster bars around Sanibel and Captiva.
What do you always bring when you paddle?
Water, snacks like dried nuts, sunscreen, and a telephone or radio for emergency communications. An extra paddle, a sponge or bilge pump, and a flashlight – because it gets late real quick.
Most memorable paddling experience?
Every paddling experience is memorable, but my favorite is to paddle in the middle of the night on a full or new moon, under the stars. Always with friends or family.
Why do you love to paddle?
It gives me an opportunity to have a little freedom, and to be by myself. To get a little exercise, clear my head, and remind me where I came from. The ocean has provided me with everything I have ever needed in my whole life. A job, food, a place to explore, happiness and sadness. I love being on the ocean, the bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. Pine Island Sound. And being in my kayak, or on my paddle board. Or in an outrigger canoe. It brings me back home to where it all began – that's why I love to paddle.
Having spent so much time on the water around Sanibel and Captiva, what advice would you give someone who is looking for a unique paddling adventure in the area?
I would recommend giving us a call or checking out our website. Adventure Sea Kayak and SUP offers all kinds of customizable trips. We can customize any adventure to fit your needs – maybe a boat ride and paddle up to Cayo Costa, or perhaps a full moon or bioluminescence tour. I believe those are some of the most unique paddling adventures in our area.
Ocean Tribe Paddlers is a club hosted by Sanibel Sea School that helps the SWFL paddling community better explore, enjoy, and understand the ocean. Visit oceantribepaddlers.org or follow us on Facebook to learn more.