The seasoned aqua men who own St. Mary's haven for Scuba aficionados also own the 6,000-square-foot building that houses the business. The diving specialists oversaw the construction of what would become their own self-contained underwater-experience facility. Adding to varied careers that encompassed naval service and cave diving, Bruce MacDougall and Chris Whitlock opened Diver’s Den in 2000, scheduling charters for open-water dives or practice dives in the company's heated, indoor pool. Over the last decade, Diver's Den has become a well-regarded source for both recreational diving instruction and professional training of rescue personnel.
The team of PADI-certified diving teachers at Diver’s Den regularly explores the region's offshore diving sites aboard its 36-foot Gulfstream boat, the Georgia Wreckreation. The team members once memorably aided the underwater investigations of famed wreck historian Richie Kohler (whose conquests have included the Titanic) as he dove off the Georgia coast to visit mysterious sunken wrecks and his snooty in-laws who live in Atlantis' biggest mermansion.
Since driving a car on water isn't possible—yet—Destin Power Boats offers a better way to transport oneself over the tides with mint-condition vessels. Prestocked with USCG-approved safety equipment, the company's fleet features Baja and Searay boats that seat up to eight riders apiece. The fleet also revs up with supercharged seadoos, which boast 215-horsepower motors and are strong enough to carry multiple passengers or tow a small island. For customers in search of a unique thrill, Destin Power Boats also offers thrilling spins on the Flyboard—a high-tech device that propels users into the sky and under the water's surface.
It's difficult to tell whether Master Thomas Gordon or Master Gregory Bledsoe would win in a fight. That's because the two martial-arts instructors have worked on the same team for more than a decade. In that time, they've developed a teaching style that has caught the attention of the local and national press.
All the attention is warranted, because Masters Gordon and Bledsoe aren't just effective instructors—they're avid students of their craft. Gordon, for example, has attended countless tae kwon do seminars and camps, and he can articulately speak about the discipline's history as well as flawlessly demonstrate its self-defense techniques. Both instructors are also acutely aware of the real-life applications of tae kwon do and hapkido. Plenty of police officers have attended their classes looking to get a leg up on the next criminal, and kids and teens use their newly acquired moves to defend against bullies or rip up impossible math tests.
In 2005, The Funplex of Gulf Breeze opened its doors to kids looking for competitive and recreational coaching in cheerleading and gymnastics. Over time, the demand grew so much that the facility expanded to its current 30,000-squre-foot venue, which serves the community with an even bigger variety of activities. Guests of honor have several options for birthday parties, including bounce-house sessions, princess-themed blowouts, private time on the gymnastics equipment, or instruction from a stuntman coach. Even adults can get in on the facility’s fun by taking Zumba dance fitness classes.
With a lineage that traces back more than 30 years to its founders' respective schools, Tiger Rock Martial Arts has grown to more than 200 locations nationwide. Tiger Rock's primary focus is tae kwon do, through which certified trainers teach youngsters the skills to defend themselves, as well as confidence and discipline. Adults can learn tae kwon do as well or encounter martial-arts moves in a calorie-torching aerobic workout. Tiger Rock also partners with sports teams to bolster their training or with corporations to get their employees up, moving, and healthy.
With one foot planted in traditional martial-arts pedagogy and the other roundhouse-kicking modern sports science, Tiger Rock Taekwondo Academy schools limbs with fast-paced, total-body fitness classes. The health-and-fitness program consists of YogaFit and Kisado, which blends martial arts, yoga, and nutritional counseling to build up the whole body and tone each strand of hair on the head. Martial arts classes for adults and kids cover counter aggressive forms such as taekwondo and hanmudo, a style based on grappling and takedowns.