Is the third time the charm?
On July 29, Patrick Klemawesch will participate in the Paddleboard World Championship in Hawaii.
At 36, this will be Klemawesch’s third attempt to gain the most prestigious title.
Although he's packing his paddleboard and catching a flight soon to Hawaii, Klemawesch took a few moments to chat about his adventure.
"I do not do this for money," said Klemawesch. "It's purely for the love of the game."
People around St. Pete know Klemawesch as an allergist and immunologist at Allergy Associates. But Klemawesch also is one of world's top standup paddleboarders.
He leaves on Wednesday morning to chase his passion, represent his beloved Treasure Island community, with its laid-back vibe, and perhaps snag a world title for a sport growing in popularity.
He said that Florida is becoming more active in the "SUP" scene (learn the beach lingo), and it is an "exciting" thing to see.
Recently, Klemawesch also spoke with a local blogger about his background paddleboarding.
“I started paddling recreationally in 2004 to have something to do on flat days. I was living in Jacksonville during my medical residency and spent all my free time at the beach. Back then it was hard to find a shaper that would make a stand up board, so we used windsurfers or big longboards and tried to catch little tiny waves or just paddle around the islands. When I moved back to St. Pete, it seemed like the perfect way to enjoy the beautiful outdoors we have around here. Little by little, the race scene has grown up here locally, from your first races in 2008/2009 with 10 or 20 people to the increasingly competitive field we have nowadays.”
Klemawesch is a Treasure Island resident who brims with talent. In addition to being a standout athlete, he also is a medical doctor. With brains and brawn, this guy could have his own reality show. (Hey, ladies, his Facebook page lists him as "single.)
He earned a Bachelor of Science from Harvard in 1999 and went on to further his education at the University of Alabama. He is now an MD, with a practice in St. Petersburg.
Yet Klemawesch also seems to have the soul of a poet. On his Facebook page, he quotes an American poet who also found inspiration in the wild outdoors: "With all your science, can you tell me how it is that light comes into the soul?" Klemawesch quotes Henry David Thoreau.
Medical doctor, Harvard grad and paddleboard champ. Anything missing? Oh, he also is a musician.
The Hip Abduction is Klemawesch’s band, for which he plays the guitar and ethnic instruments. The group’s sound is a soothing blend of rhythmic soul, island percussion and soft rock and roll.
Even though Klemawesch has a medical practice and a professional paddleboarding career, he still finds time to join the band at local gigs.
So, how does Klemawesch do it? He says it comes down to passion. "You can always find time to do the things that you love," said Klemawesch.
Although he is of an elite group when it comes to paddleboarding, Klemawesch shies away from the term "professional" because he does not seek to profit financially from doing it.
The folks of Treasure Island are sure to wish one of their own all the best as he paddles toward a world title.