The yang of Florida O.A.T.S.
Sean Fitzgibbon is the founding partner of Florida Outdoors Adventure Thrive & Survival school.
Sean Fitzgibbon is a Safety Guru that has saltwater coursing through his veins. When Sean meets a challenge, he dives right in without regard to his prosthetic right leg. This admirable athlete, coach, and medical practitioner refuses to let anything hold him back, despite having had his leg amputated at the age of three, he has completed several expeditions; moreover, he’s also an avid surfer with four-time national champion trophies, retired soccer coach, mountain biker, and Florida survival coach.
His aquatic way of life began with his father. They fished, boated, and canoed all around the state of Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina. It was this time spent on the water as a child that imbedded a love for all things connected to the water. That coupled with the fact that Sean was born with a birth defect that eventually led to the amputation of his Rt. lower leg when he was 3 years old to allow him to function more normally. It was in the water that Sean found a certain freedom he did not have on land. In many ways the Florida waters helped him to be born again.
So began Sean’s journey in life that would eventually find him sailing and surfing, at first for fun, then in competitions. Sean excelled in surfing, eventually turning pro & taking many East Coast and National Championships and surfing both the east & west coasts of the U.S & in Hawaii in his 9 years of professional surfing. In sailing he took pride in his knowledge of the environment, and boating safety- taking all 3 levels of Survival Tech training in the late 80’s. Sean really liked to sail and the mariners way of life, but wanted to connect with the liquid world a bit more intimately- that led him to surfing and eventually to kayaking for training when the waves were flat. Sean began paddling in 1999 and by 2001 was leading trips and teaching all over Florida for a local paddling outfitter. It was during this time he met Jeff Fabiszewski and they have been paddling and running a paddlers info blog www.liquidrhythmkayaking.com ever since.
Now retired from competing in surfing Sean focuses on paddling, his wife, & 2 boys (maybe not in that order). During the week you will usually find Sean working his “real job” at St Petersburg Limb & Brace as a Licensed Orthotic Fitter/ Prosthetic Assistant & Pedorthist. Where he designs, fabricates and fits orthotic and prosthetic devices to help his patients regain/maintain an active lifestyle, along the way giving them support and encouragement.
On the weekends and any other time Sean is either paddling for FUN, teaching paddling safety for FUN, or guiding other paddlers for FUN at Sweetwater Kayaks! Sean’s paddling accomplishments include crossing the Molokai Channel (Hawaii) in 2000. In 2007 Sean and Jeff circumnavigated Pinellas County, Fl. over a 5 day period. In 2008-2009 Sean paddled over 90 miles in the Florida Keys and then in December ’09 did over 100 miles on the Suwannee River, Fl. Other paddling includes Atlantic coastal paddling off Charleston South Carolina and the coast of Georgia. Sean has also taught at the Sweetwater Kayak Symposium and worked at the East Coast Canoe and Kayak Festival in Charleston, S.C. providing support for Russel Farrow behind the scenes. Sean has been taught and mentored by many well respected coaches/instructors in the U.S. and is continually striving to become a better paddler and to spread his love of the paddling lifestyle and all things in nature.
In the news
- St. Petersburg man says flesh eating disease almost killed him, but he survived to guide others, By: Linda Hurtado, abc Action News, On air Oct, 31, 2012
- Disability Doesn’t Faze Kayak King, By STEPHEN THOMPSON, The Tampa Tribune, Published: May 12, 2008
- Kayak Journey Around Keys Is To Turn Tide For Disabled, By STEPHEN THOMPSON, The Tampa Tribune, Published: May 6, 2008
- Ripple Effect by Brian Kelly
- Amputee Kayakers Raise Funds for Extremity Games, May 17, 2007, http://www.oandp.com
- Licensed Orthotic Fitter
- Prosthetic Assistant
- Cervical/ Spinal Stabilization
- Orthotic Intervention
- Certified Wound Care Training
- HIV/Infectious disease prevention
- Preventing Medical Errors
- Muscle Contracture Mgt.
- First Aid
- CPR (adult, child, infant)
- Advanced Life Support/AED
- 4 time East Coast Surfing Champion
- 4 time consecutive U.S.S.F. National
- Buddy Pelletier Surfer of the Year ’04
- Buddy Pelletier Surfer of the Year ’05
Let’s have an adventure.