There is no question that stand-up paddleboarding has exploded into one of the most popular and fastest growing water sports today. As the sport grows so do companies supplying quality equipment to fill paddlers’ needs. Florida-based Live Watersports is just such a company and like the industry it supplies, it is now growing ever more successful. The company growth can be credited to its innovative boards, hard working leadership and the efforts of a talented team.
There are plenty of paddleboards on the market today with new models constantly being introduced. To stand out from the crowd in a growing market a board must be innovative, well made, and must serve the needs of those who will paddle it. Live Watersports has managed to produce a line of boards that does all three. All are built on the same unique design premise created with an emphasis on stability and speed by designer Bob Brodhead,.
Unlike many standard paddleboards with flat or almost flat bottoms, the three models Live Watersports offers utilize varying forms of a catamaran style hull design. At first glance the L2Sport looks like a standard performance touring or racing board at 12’ 6” long and 29” wide standing 7” tall. One look at the bottom, however, will differentiate it from the crowd. Sporting Live Watersports’ catamaran design, it has an inverted v shape that runs down the full length of the center of the board, creating outboard catamaran type hulls. These integrated hulls translate to less wet surfaces, less friction and higher speeds with less effort. An added bonus to this design is incomparable stability. It takes standing on one of these boards to appreciate fully how stable (and effortlessly fast) they are.
The L2Utility has a similar hull design but a more rounded nose and at 12’ long with a wider beam of 32’, this board is even more stable. It is touted as the “SUV of stand-up paddle boards.” It is a great board for fishing, yoga, paddling alone or with a child or dog, and is a great option for larger paddlers (many pro athletes such as NFL players are choosing Live Watersports boards for their paddle workouts).
The third board in their lineup is a unique design looking unlike any other paddleboards. The L2Fish is a true catamaran board with two hulls joined by a large deck. The result is a board with tremendous capacity (over 500 lbs.), incomparable stability, minimal drag and an impressive glide ratio. At 12’ 6” long and 34” wide with a stance of 9”, this board can be set up with coolers, seats and a wide array of accessories, including a trolling motor, making it the ultimate utility board. Any of the three is a winning choice.
John Cleckner and his wife Joana have taken their vision and drive and are pushing Live Watersports to ever-higher levels of success. John, a veteran of water sports retail, has learned what works and what doesn’t while spending many years growing the business at Water Sports West in Florida. Taking his knowledge and contacts, he has been able to gain the help of experts in all fields of manufacturing, marketing and business who are willing to share their knowledge to draw up a plan for success. With help from industry successes such as Jim Sampey, retired from Val Pac, and Steve Levine of Water Sports West, along with friends and family such as his brother Ryan, John has been able to bring production of the boards back from China to Florida. He now has a full production facility turning out state of the art boards from top of the line materials utilizing the latest methods and a fully trained manufacturing team.
Even with a great product, getting the word out can be difficult. Not so for John and Joana. They bought a used RV and a trailer to haul their demo boards, and they hit the road with their 15-year-old son and eight-month-old baby. Taking three months, white knuckling it through the winter season they drove south to Key West first, then up the coast to New York, Michigan and on to Toronto, Ontario, stopping at dealers at all points along the way. Paddling in snow and ice they signed up dealer after dealer. Suffering blowouts and near misses with low bridges, the Cleckners, feeling more like the Griswalds at times, were able to add a strong list of loyal dealers to their business. The trip was so successful, they are planning another marketing voyage this summer with stops along the Gulf Coast, Texas and on to California and beyond.
Live Watersports’ company phrase, “what do you live for?” is not just a question for them. It is also a statement. They obviously live for their boards and the paddling life.