Stand-Up Pro


Sea Island Life talks to golfer Davis Love III about his passion for stand-up paddleboarding.

By Judy Wells


Since turning pro in 1985, golfer and Sea Island resident Davis Love III, the son of former golf pro Davis Love Jr., has been a formidable presence on the PGA Tour. In 2010, Love brought the McGladrey Classic, an official stop on the PGA Tour, to Sea Island’s Seaside Course, and the tournament has raised more than $850,000 for local charities over the past three years. As host of the McGladrey Classic, and with 20 PGA Tour tournament wins under his belt, it’s obvious what Love can do with a golf club in his hands and the greens under his feet. But in recent years, Love is just as likely to be found holding a paddle, standing on a board out on the water.

For the last two years, the North Carolina native has managed to combine two of his passions in order to benefit his adopted home of Sea Island.

First introduced to the stand-up paddleboard (SUP) by mega-surfer and paddleboarder Laird Hamilton, Love brought his friend and agent Mac Barnhardt to the sport, which the Outdoor Industry Association recently called one of the fastest growing water activities. The two became partners in Classic Paddle and Putt, a stand-up paddleboard shop in St. Simons Island’s Redfern Village. In 2011, the shop hosted the Golden Isles SUP Classic, which attracted 40-some competitors. The following year, the SUP Classic coincided with the McGladrey Classic, and 80 SUP competitors, ranging from 14 to 70 years of age, took to the waters for the 7.5-mile race. The SUP Classic takes place each  fall and includes free demonstrations for those interested in learning more.

At 48, Love not only enjoys SUP but utilizes it as another way to stay in shape, improve balance and strengthen his core, all of which help his golf game.

Barnhardt endorses the sport as well: “It’s incredible exercise; the movements are very conducive to helping your golf swing.”

Sea Island Life caught up with Love right before he embarked on the 2013 PGA Tour, and asked him about his newfound passion.


Sea Island Life: Paddleboarding is something a lot of us haven’t tried yet. What is it like?

Davis Love III: Like learning to ride a bike, you feel very uncoordinated until you get it, then it becomes natural. [It] feels like paddling a canoe standing up at first. … You know you are getting wet!

SIL: What prompted you to try it?

DL: I just wanted another way to catch a wave, but found out flatwater paddling in the river or lake was fun too.

SIL: What do you like the most about stand-up paddleboarding?

DL: Catching waves when the surf is up. [It gives you] great balance and core exercise for golf.

SIL: How would you rate the learning curve and difficulty?

DL: Like snowboarding, the first day is hard, then you progress quickly; a lesson the first time [is] critical.

SIL: Has paddleboarding become a family passion? Your daughter, Alexia (Lexie), is an equestrian. Has she exchanged her Paso Finos for a paddleboard?

DL: Just my son Dru likes to [paddleboard] too; Lexie likes horses and not sea creatures.

SIL: Are you still interested in turkey hunting or has paddleboarding replaced it?

DL: Paddleboarding is year-round, turkey season is just spring. As my wife, Robin, says about my hobbies, “Why is something always in season?”

SIL: Do any of your friends stand-up paddleboard? If so, where do they do it?

DL: [PGA Tour players] Lucas Glover and Chris Kirk paddle at Sea Island.

SIL: Your body seems to defy the rules of age. You’re beating the young guns at a time when most pros are looking forward to being competitive again on the Champions tour. Do new activities like paddleboarding help keep you on your toes in other sports such as golf?

DL: Snowboarding … paddleboarding, working and hunting in the woods just give me another way and reason to stay in shape. My brain thinks I am 25, so [I’m] just trying to fool the body.

SIL: Is there a sport left on your bucket list that you have yet to try?

DL: I am working on my deep powder snowmobiling, and my fly fishing, but what I really need to do is lose a sport from the list! m

Start Paddling 

Ready to get out on the water and try stand-up paddleboarding? Sea Island offers SUP rentals, clinics and private lessons. Call 888-881-7313 for more information.


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