“Austin is a beautiful city with nature around every corner,” says Anna Jane Floyd. The Texas native grew up on the Barton Creek Greenbelt, one of the city’s natural jewels.
“Pretty much as soon as I could walk, my dad, Beaman, had me on the water. He’s been a passionate paddler forever, and so I remember being plunked into a kayak at a young age. On weekends, our family would pack all our kayaks and boards onto the truck and head to the lake for a “Floyd Family Flotilla” day,” Anna says.
She fell in love with paddling and water sports, and expanded into competitive rowing, for which she won four state championships. Paddling, though, stayed Anna’s first love.
“I learned to strap my own board to my car, and I’d go paddling on my own or take a friend. Not only does paddling give me a different perspective and make me feel so close to nature, but its social aspect lets me bring other people along who never thought they’d get a chance to paddle, and I love seeing them fall in love with it!” Anna says.
Her dad, who knows how to build pretty much anything, wanted them to be able to paddle at night. The tricky part was doing it legally, in accordance with maritime lighting laws.
“He bought a port/starboard light and hooked it to straps, and then made mounts for the straps on the boards. We use a clear stern light on top of a small pole, which is also mounted to the board. Once he fixed us up with those, we started paddling at night. I absolutely love night paddles because the lake is totally empty, and I basically get a private view of the city. It’s quiet and peaceful and magical, especially when there are Christmas lights up around town that reflect off the water,” Anna says.
The picture above is from Anna’s first night paddle. “I was spellbound at the different vibe I got from going out so late, how serene but also exciting it was,” Anna says.
The 21-year-old has worked three summers at marinas in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park. Next summer she’s hoping to bring her Hobie and paddle some of the most amazing glacial lakes in some of the most stunning mountains in the world.