Before the sun rose Friday, Darry Jackson, Aaron Freedman and George Stovall gathered in Pinellas Point in St. Petersburg to pay tribute to late Tampa Bay Times outdoors editor Terry Tomalin, who on May 19 last year died after suffering a heart attack at 55.
"The crew," as the foursome was known, went on numerous kayak and paddleboard adventures throughout Florida. As darkness broke, Jackson, Freedman and Stovall kayaked in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge and dropped flowers into the water in honor of Tomalin and his family: wife Kanika, son Kai and daughter Nia.
"There's a tremendous void today," Freedman said. "There's three of us now, not four."
The original plan was to paddle underneath the main span of the Skyway, but gusty winds forced a change.
"Terry used to say to his son, Kai, that when the wind blows, it's me," Jackson said. "Today, he's just showing off."
After about a 30-minute paddle, with the sun just over the horizon, the crew exited the water. The three shared stories about Tomalin and vowed to continue making kayak trips in his memory.
"We've got to keep going and continue his legacy," Stovall said.