Summer 2017!

2017 has been a Marathon year for us at oTHErside Adventure Park & Keys Cable and there’s no slowing down!  Asides from an epic winter and spring of Kiteboarding, Wakeboarding, Paddleboarding and living like pirates and mermaids, we have many big things on our horizons.  Thanks to the support of our visitors and locals we have been able to revamp our Grassy Key facility for a bigger and better park moving forward!  We have been investing aggressively in sustainability and further rehabilitating our once dilapidated facility into a must see Island marketplace with a variety of attractions and activities.  Here’s some more info on all the happenings!

oTHErside Boardsports South 

oTHErside Adventure Park and oTHErside Boardsports are bred from the same blood, but have been physically isolated since our inception due to the condition of our facilities.  Part of our collective mission in lessening our “footprint” comes from the rehabilitation of that which once was as opposed to creating something new in a place that never was nor should be.  The fundamentals of creating an eco resort or park should be about restoring already scarified or dilapidated lands and structures abandoned by man.   This is opposed to the more common and usually less difficult task of developing a new location and further displacing native habitats.  When we inherited a 30 year old aquaculture facility that had been vacant for nearly a decade, we never imagined the magnitude and scale of what was to come.  Asides from removing millions of dollars of industrial equipment left to rot in the Florida Keys sun and salt, the roof of the 3 story Laboratory proved to be our biggest adversary.  What started with a roof, led to a full-scale remodel with a primary focus on improving energy efficiency and weather resilience.  The new oTHErside shop will feature a 1600 sq ft retail space accompanied by  an island market place featuring vendors, artists, galleries, and craftsmen.  All the same goods at the Islamorada location will be available accompanied by other exotic brands and boutique island goods.

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Summer Sunshine

Before purchasing our facility in July 2015 we pledged an oath to ourselves to achieve a carbon footprint that was not just neutral but in fact negative.  Our goal was to not only operate our business in a sustainable fashion, but to figure out how we could incorporate new technologies and resource management tactics to set the benchmark for local commercial businesses. As one of the most environmentally sensitive economies in the world, we feel this is a do or die mission for The Florida Keys.   Asides from pledging nearly 30 acres of our mangroves and hardwood hammocks as a private nature reserve, we have decided to bring on a silent partner to help achieve our goal, that partner is sunshine!  We have been studying Solar Farms for several years now and with the thankful defeat of the deceitful Amendment 1 that was promoted in our last election by Florida utility companies, Solar Investing in the Sunshine State has been given a economically viable future.  Working closely with the Florida Keys Electric Cooperative we have installed 66 Solar panels on our newly renovated building.  The array is capable of not just offsetting the total monthly consumption of our facility, but in fact a surplus of energy is generated and sold back to the FKEC grid.  The same grid that is primarily provided for by Turkey Point Nuclear Plant and Florida Power and Light just outside of the keys.  The panels have been installed and will be turning sunshine into clean, emission-free energy for our community by middle of summer.  While this is our first installation, we do not intend it to be our last.  As technologies advance and our investments prove their returns, we will stage new installations to lessen our local dependence on Nuclear Power which in recent years has also posed a threat to our local water supply in the Biscayne Aquifer.  For more information on this project and to learn how to get on board with your business, please contact Matt@othersideboardsports.com

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Coole Observations Lagoon Loop

Last year we partnered with and helped found Coole Observations 501(c)3 with the initial goal of building an Observatory and a Classroom in memory of our beloved friend Chef Ben Coole.   We have collectively agreed to postpone breaking ground on the observatory until 2018 to organize and a establish a significant fundraising campaign.  In the meantime we have donated the half mile access road around our lagoon for an interactive experience to help create awareness about the non profit and the local and worldly issues which we have agreed to battle together.  The loop will be free and open to the public on a daily basis.  In partnership with The Florida Keys Council of the Arts and a number of different artists, intellects, historians, and conservationists we will showcase a vibrant, educational, and provocative tour that can be enjoyed independently or with a scheduled guide.  The installations and basic infrastructure around the loop will be contributed by Coole Observations and maintained in partnership with the environmental and ethical standards upheld by the oTHErside Adventure Park Staff.  The loop is planned to be open to the public by end of summer 2017.  For more information on the loop or to be a featured artist please contact matt@othersideboardsports.com

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Keys Beez & oTHErside Organix Botanical Gardens

In partnership with John and Isabella of Keez Beez Honey, Erika Klopf of Florida Edible Landscaping, and the local Mosquito Control District the entire 50 acres at oTHErside Adventure Park are managed and maintained at the highest possible standards for preserving the native habitat and providing refuge for native flora and fauna.  With over 50 bee hives onsite throughout the year and more than a hundred types of edible plants in our gardens we are a dedicated apiary and safe haven for beneficial pollinators.  Without the use of any pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers, we have revived our local eco-system and created a beautiful botanical garden in a place that was once inhospitable. With Techniques like agroforestry, permaculture, and a massive composting program we have created a soil base on top of sand and cap rock that has minimized the mosquito and no-see-um population and maximized the butterfly, dragonfly, lady bug, bee, wasp, and bird population.  The established root structure, and maintained growth has also helped to prevent once rampant erosion around the property.  Given the frequent fears of Mosquito born illnesses we do work very closely with Florida Keys Mosquito Control but opt out of all aerial adulticide and non organic spraying.  On site all standing water and cisterns are treated with gambusia fish or spot treated with an organic bacteria based pellet, both of which exclusively target mosquito larvae.  Thanks to Florida Edible Landscaping we have an extensive variety of tropical fruits and veggies that will be sold and consumed onsite as well as an irrigation system that uses our 10,000 gallon rain cisterns for efficient and sustainable watering.  Likewise, thanks to Keez Beez, honey from our park and The Florida Keys can be found in over a thousand stores around South Florida and beyond.  The gardens and grounds are open to the public and are happily shared with the community.  As our crops grow so will our ability to provide quality local fruits and produce through our farmers market and cafe that we will be opening late summer.

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oTHErside Adventure Camp

For our third year in a row we are holding our extremely popular oTHErside Adventure Camp, boasting five epic days with five epic adventures.  Florida Keys groms from all over join us for a week of wakeboarding, kiteboarding, sailing, skateboarding, and rock climbing.  Throughout the week we also work on a number of teambuiliding activities which focus on sustainability, waste management, and local environmental issues.  Through engaging our community youth with fun and challenging activities we collectively figure out ways that we can improve the area around us in the keys and beyond.  Summer camp for 2017 is already sold out but look out for our grom squad sessions during the school year and some adult camps coming up soon!

Contact support@othersideboardsports.com for more info on camps!

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