Just the other weekend I had the chance to hitch a ride with Danny Hampson to the Florida Keys, or as Danny likes to call it, “paradise.” The reason for our venture was the Tige “Beach Challenge,” in which riders test their abilities to follow the boat as it crashes and sways through the treacherous ocean waters of Marathon Key.  Joining us in the Keys were Aaron Reed and the “next big thing,” Mr. Bo Burton.  Danny and Aaron did very well in the beach challenge, placing second and third. I did not.  As you can imagine, this was pretty exciting considering Danny was in his hometown and the whole family was there to support him in his first tournament since his neck injury.  

While we had fun at the tournament, it seemed to take a backseat to more tropical things like tanning, knitting hammocks with only one spool of yarn, and lots of fishing.  Oh yeah, we also spent a good bit of time skating the concrete wave Danny and his dad built in the backyard…shred the gnar-gnar brah!  Anyway, the theme of this story is either A) God the Florida Keys are great! B) Fishing is the only sport cooler than wakeboarding, or C) Jeff is having a hard time writing an organized and coherent story, he should have made a bubble map before diving into the details. You decide, I’ll just continue with my “blogging.”  

Danny taught us many things on this trip including; how to catch a shark off the seawall and reel them in with a beer in hand, and how to tie this exotic fishing knot that I have already forgotten the name of (maybe it was a Bimini Twist), as well as the steps to completing it.  We even got a chance to do some tourist stuff like feed a school of about a hundred Tarpon that were all over three feet long.  Thomas Horrell even stopped by one afternoon to catch up with the guys.  Aaron and Danny both introduced me to the artistic world of the “Holga” camera, and I am now using one myself to document things worth documenting.  Aaron took some great shots as shown above.  Danny’s turned out all black. I think he had his fingertip over the lens.  

On Sunday afternoon Bo and Aaron decided that their risk for basal Cell Carcinoma had peaked, so they headed home for some shade, but Danny and I toughed it out for one final day, which was spent fishing with the best guide in town, Mr. Hampson.  For those of you who don’t know Mr. Hampson, he is pretty much a complete badass.  Let’s put it this way, he fights sharks.  Anyway, he took Danny, Collin Harrington party of three (guests: Dixon and Nicole), and I out for a few hours of intense fishing in the 4-6 foot seas.  We pulled off some serious meat that day, including some snapper, sharks and one ill-tempered seagull.  It was definitely the best weekend trip I’ve had in a while, so if you live nearby or want to fly in, it’s totally worth checking out.  Just stay off of Islamorada because that’s “Dannysland.”
Big Thanks to the Hampson family for all of the hospitality and good times.