That’s exactly what Freddy York is setting out to do in order to benefit Heroes On the Water (HOW) and get his fishing fix at the same time.
Growing up in the south, Freddy fished for bass and other freshwater fish. After joining the Coast Guard and being stationed in the San Diego area, he was introduced to offshore fishing. It must have had an impact because Freddy hasn’t fished fresh water since, other than with his kids. However, fishing was still just an occasional hobby, taking a back seat to competing at wrestling, Brazilian jiu jitsu, and MMA. Freddy broke his neck in 2001 and has had several spinal surgeries since.
“In 2012, while living in Pompano Beach, FL I had my most recent spinal surgery, and that's when I decided to stop combat sports and start fishing. I bought a kayak, found the guys who are the best at it, and started going out as often as possible. If I was alone, I'd hit the reefs or the Intracoastals, and if the guys were going out I'd head offshore. Obviously, in South Florida you can pretty much catch anything while fishing live bait offshore so for me, fishing is more about just being out there than catching fish. Since I couldn't compete anymore, I had to find a way to deal with a pretty serious case of attention deficit disorder. Being alone on a kayak in the ocean kind of forces one to deal with lots of internal stuff.”
”That's the very reason I believe in the mission of HOW. That philosophy helped me deal when I had no other desirable outlet,” Freddy explains. “I've been back to Florida a couple times and I've gone out with Joe (Hector) and some other guys in the Extreme camp, but I really planned this trip because I felt like I needed to get away for a while. Teaming up with Heroes On the Water seemed logical, since I was going to be kayak fishing anyway.”
Freddy’s plan is to bicycle from Manhattan to the Bahamas, stopping to fish with fellow veterans and local HOW chapters along the way. His goal is to raise money and awareness for HOW, as well as to help veterans discover the therapeutic advantages of kayak fishing, much like he did himself a few years ago. He’ll leave March 1, 2015 at the latest. The trip should take Freddy approximately two months, give or take a week, including his days of fishing. This “just happens” to put him in the Bahamas on time for him to compete in the 2015 Extreme Battle in the Bahamas kayak fishing tournament.
He plans to post updates daily on his website (www.pedalpirate.com) where you can follow his adventures, donate to his cause, or find sponsor information. Sponsors such as Hook 1, YakAttack, Yak-Gear, ACK, Origin8, One Stop Nutrition (Scottsdale, AZ) and Sid’s Bikes NYC have provided much of the gear Freddy will need for his venture, and he’ll be well equipped for the trip.
With such a great cause at the heart of Freddy’s quest, it’s easy to see why so many people are supporting him. Good luck Freddy!