Panama City paddleboarder finds calm on downtown streets

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PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A former elementary school teacher has found a unique way to get around town while getting a workout in.

When he’s not paddling in the ocean, former first-grade teacher Chad Wallis is paddling the streets of downtown.

“People will be like…that’s so neat, that’s so cool, did you make that?” Wallis said.

Wallis started skating about 10 years ago. After seeing an advertisement, he found a way to mix his two loves…Paddleboarding and longboarding.

“It’s like surfing, it’s like paddleboarding, it’s like riding a wave. It’s very very similar especially when you go fast. It’s very smooth. You can learn to cut and maneuver. It’s very very smooth,” Wallis said.

And it helps him deal with all that life brings.

“I would say my lifestyle is kind of let free, let go…spend the money you have because there is nothing promised. Definitely get out in the sun, sweat, and stay healthy for sure. Be extremely kind and friendly to everybody,” Wallis said.

After skating around downtown for the last 9 years, Wallis said he hasn’t met another person in town that also land paddles.

He often gets comments while he is riding around town and he said he’s always willing to let someone jump on.

“If I see someone who wants to get on, jump on. I’m all about anybody jumping on,” Wallis said.

Wallis said one day he’d love to start a club so others can ride around downtown and land paddle too.

“Id love it. I think it would be so great. From the youngest to the oldest I would love it,” Wallis said.

He said it’s a great way to bond with his kids and they often ride alongside him.

“Me being a 1st-grade teacher for all my years I learned that ya know we should all be like children in a way we should be very calm and easy and not worry so much,” Wallis said.

He said everyone should find something therapeutic that relaxes them for at least an hour a day, whatever that may be.

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