Breaking News! New Double Indoor Flowrider Coming to PCB

Hot off the press – pcbdaily’s press – an indoor double Flowrider is coming to Panama City Beach.  Think surfing year-round, think surfing whether the water temperature in the Gulf is tolerable or not, think surfing whether it’s raining or lightning outside, or think surfing if you just don’t feel like paddling out.  I’m thinking surfing because I can’t surf for real.

Being a veteran snowboarder remembering the days of the early 1990’s of me and one other guy on the whole mountain learning to snowboard, getting practically run over by skiers hating on the, what they thought, new sport.  I always wanted to skate, but frankly, I sucked at it.  I read all the magazines, wore the cool clothes, listened to the music, liked riding my board, but I couldn’t do any tricks for the life of me.  Or maybe I just wasn’t dedicated.  Snowboarding was everything I wanted – a board that was attached to my feet and a padded landing (sometimes).  I rode passionately every chance I got for 10 years (growing up is Dallas offered me this opportunity twice a year at best).

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Fast forward to moving to Panama City Beach in 2001.  “Surfing is just like snowboarding,” a friend told me, “you’ll love it.”  Well, it isn’t, and I don’t.  It always seemed like too much work for not enough playtime.  I was spoiled with the sometimes seemingly endless downhill bouts riding fresh powder.  I gave it another chance when my wife, who is an avid surfer, convinced me.  Same results.  I did however find a new comprimise to my longing for the snow – wakeboarding.  Yet, I’ve only been once.  That day will always linger in my head when I got “up” after the third try and rode for hours.  Everything about the control of the board was familiar – I loved it.  Too bad that was almost three summers ago, and I haven’t gone since.

Fast forward again, to today.  A new double Flowrider is coming to Panama City Beach, and it will be indoor.  Talking to Jeremy, who’s working on the development and operational side of this new attraction, he said, “the best way I can describe it is a jet engine shooting water up a ramp so fast you can surf it.”  The title on the main page of the Flowrider website describes it as “sheetwave attractions.”  They vary in size and even in wave dynamics, but they all provide healthy doses of fun. If you’ve ever been on a Royal Caribbean’s cruise, chances are you’ve run into one.

Driving down Middle Beach Road, right across from Wal-Mart and where Tony Roma’s used to be, you’ve probably seen a video sign that says Shubee Flowrider.  That’s it.  Right there in Miracle Strip Loop will be where all the indoor surfing action can be found starting sometime early summer.  “If everything works out right, we’ll be open sometime in June,” said Jeremy.

Prices haven’t been set yet, but they are estimating the cost to be around $20 per session.  Each session could last for up to 1 hour.  Inside, there will be observation areasall around the attraction, two party rooms and a retail area including gear and apparell.

Welcome to Panama City Beach, Jeremy!

Survey Says Affordability Increasing U.S. Residents' Intent to Travel

According to the most recent results of the travelhorizons quarterly survey, the U.S. Traveler Sentiment Index rose to 90.2 in February 2009 from 78.2 in October 2008 due to an increase in the perceived “affordability of travel.” The survey, which was conducted from Feb. 7 to 13, polled a representative survey of 2,270 adults, from which the Index is calculated.

The spike in the perceived affordability appears to be a direct result of the promotional pricing and related incentives now being offered by tour suppliers who represent practically every segment of the travel industry. Many airlines, cruise lines, hotel companies, attractions and rental car companies are featuring rates and fares that are up to 50 percent off the prices being quoted just six months ago.

“We are very encouraged that more people are signaling a willingness to travel for leisure purposes,” said Peter C. Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, which co-authors travelhorizons with the U.S. Travel Association. “This is the first increase we have observed in the Index since January 2008, which indicates that the discounts travel providers and destinations are offering are working to attract more travelers, even in this down economy.”  Source:  National Tour Association

As I travel around the southeast promoting our destination at consumer trade shows, speaking to thousands of people, one thing is clear.  Families are still traveling for vacations and get-a-ways.  We are fortunate to be a drive destination and have the first ever international green airport under construction.  If our spring season is any indication of what the summer is going to bring, I predict a good year for visitors and businesses.

I will be traveling to Nashville, TN next week to the Southern Women’s Show.  Over 34,000 ladies will attend the four day event.  I look forward to promoting our destination, accommodations and fun things to do while staying on “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches”.  I will give an update on my trip home.

Debi Knight, President
Panama City Beach Tourism Services
http://www.travelpcb.com

AVP is getting Geared up behind Sharkys

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Amid cloudy weather and red-flag seas, the yellow AVP tents tower above the sand.  For the first time ever a professional volleyball tournament will be hosted by AVP in Panama City Beach.

Today’s schedule is to include a collegiate tournament, however with wind kicking at up to 15 knots some of the onsite players are skeptical whether it will happen.  The professionals are out practicing right now.

On Friday, there will be a series of games where locals and other aspiring pro-volleyball players can enter the qualifier tournament to compete with the pros on Saturday and Sunday.  When talking to Nick Lucena at the recent press conference, he was telling me that some players can play up to 8 games in one day, depending on their win-to-lose ratio.  He was telling me that the pros usually train for up to four hours each day to prepare for such grueling endurance playing.

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Here is the schedule:

Friday, March 27, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Qualifier Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 6:30 PM.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Men’s and Women’s Main Draw Competition
Gates open at 7:00 am
Start time 8:00 AM. End Time (Approx) 5:30 PM.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-24

  • Ahhh, bed finally. Look out for the newsletter in the morning. It talks about lifeguards. #
  • still working. . . sleepy. #
  • working on the newsletter – almost done! then I need to finish off a web site for a client, then bed, hopefully. #
  • @drew You’re a genius! *waiting for my site traffic to go up. #
  • Unbeatble prices. Spring break at walmart. We’re almost done, hang in there! – Photo: http://bkite.com/05NT9 #
  • At church for some much needed spiritual refreshment. #
  • Betsy ann riverboat murder mystery cruise tonight. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Luu #
  • @MikeStokes they should be small, I send them from my phone. And they are jpgs. Practically universal. #
  • I’m at Betsy Ann Riverboat – http://bkite.com/05L6c #
  • Writing an article about making mobile social updates on a site that I contribute to. Can’t tell you yet. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05KMZ #
  • Carousel is almost done. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Kt5 #
  • We couldn’t ask for a more perfect day. I’m playing with the kids now, but I’ll be working later. #
  • http://twitpic.com/2b83h – Twitpic #
  • @GoodCourage yes, it will be permanent #
  • The carousel crew said they’ll be hanging the horses tonight and it should be assembled tomorrow. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Jqz #
  • The carousel crew said they’ll be hanging the horses tonight and it should be assembled tomorrow. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05IRO #
  • The new carousel in pier park – Photo: http://bkite.com/05IP0 #
  • Off to discuss the future of pcbdaily and other things we’re working on. Time will tell all. #
  • with @karensbeach helping her get all mobile and what not with twitter! #
  • Hey, who broke twitter? Got the fail whale! #
  • Have I told you how much @FooFighters rock? Nirvana radio on pandora radio is my best friend, daily. #
  • writing all about the flo rida concert yesterday, be sure to check the blog for pictures! http://tinyurl.com/cbw2r6 #
  • Good show, way less chaotic this time. I’m leaving, gotta go home and get some work done. #
  • Back on the roof again at boardwalk beach resort. Flo rida is coming on. – Photo: http://bkite.com/05EDg #
  • Just had a sit down with the commissioner of the rock paper scissors guy. #
  • Wow, NERD is rockin the house #
  • At the flo rida show. Not as many people as lil wayne, but still hopin – Photo: http://bkite.com/05Ewk #
  • NERD is playing right now, and they actually rock. Really rock. I love it. #
  • Ok, well I was talked into covering another crazy concert at the boardwalk. if you’re following me, watch for updates – flo rida #
  • Shooting went great! awesome weather. @lou1492 is doing the editing/film work. we’ll launch the show in 4 weeks – to be weekly. #
  • getting ready for the shoot of my new internet tv show! it’s all about real estate, so get ready! #
  • @Ryanyessman office day. what was going on today? another concert? I know, I’m out of touch. in reply to Ryanyessman #
  • Taking a bummed out son to five guys for some feel good burgers. #
  • Wow, the weather was crappy and overcast just 1 hour ago, but look at it now! – Photo: http://bkite.com/05BWw #
  • Panama City Beach on Daytime TV http://tinyurl.com/cxevyg #

TDC Meeting – New Website from Jennifer Barbee Inc.

Well, I think the new VisitPanamaCityBeach.com web site is just about done.  Thursday’s special called meeting, Jennifer Barbee herself will be here to present what her firm has done to the board.  From what I’ve seen, this site will be very awesome.

Also on the agenda is a presentation from Mr. Peter Yesawich from YPartnership regarding what they’ve come up with for a summer marketing campaign.

You can count on me being there Tweeting away all the sweet details.

You can download the agenda here, or view it below.

Special Called Meeting

AGENDA

COMBINED BOARD MEETNG
Bay County Tourist Development Council
Panama City Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau, Inc.
Panama City Beach
Thursday, March 26, 2009                   4:00 p.m.        Council Room, PCB City Hall

NOTE:  The City Council of Panama City Beach will be meeting at 2:00 p.m.  If the City Council meeting is not over by 4:00 p.m., the Combined Board Meeting will begin immediately following adjournment of the Council meeting.

I.    CALL MEETING TO ORDER

II.    ROLL CALL

A.    Invocation
B.    Pledge of Allegiance

III.    REQUESTS TO ADDRESS THE BOARD ON AGENDA ITEMS (3 Minutes)

IV.    PRESENTATIONS

A.    Presentation of Website and Marketing Campaign, Ms. Susan Estler, VP of Marketing

1.    VisitPanamaCityBeach.com, Ms. Jennifer Barbee, JB, Inc.
2.    2009 Summer Marketing Campaign, Mr. Peter Yesawich, YPartnership

V.    BOARD DISCUSSION ITEMS

VI.    AUDIENCE PARTICIPATION

VII.    ADJOURNMENT

Spring Break, Kids just want something FUN to do!

img_0499Beach Tennis Tournaments for Spring Break

We had the opportunity to introduce a healthy approach to Spring Break 2009 in Panama City Beach this year. We introduced the Beach Tennis USA Association to the area and began to offer active sports on the beach as a way for students to meet others and have fun in competition.  We brought in Pro Tennis players and all of the nets and equipment to set up in front of Sharkys to offer an organized “sport” and play with prizes, t-shirts and most of all FUN.

The play is FREE and we are offering t-shirts to all who play and try the sport. The winners of the tournament have received dinner for two at Sharkys and various tennis related prizes. We have given away tennis racquets as we approached the end of the event to winners who want to continue to play this new sport and have fun.

We have been running tennis tournaments most every day. Two Sundays ago we had 20 teams ( 40 kids) lined up to play at 10:30 a.m.

The students we have met and interviewed just want to come to the white sand beach of Panama City and enjoy the sun and meet others.  Every day we had students who were signing up to play, excited to compete and interested in additional sports and activities that will let them be active and meet others. We had repeat students coming back to compete and win better prizes as the week progresses.

We have met students from all over the world including Australia, United Kingdom, France, Italy and all across the U.S., and they have all been excited to have something active and fun to do at the beach rather than just “drink” all day.

Students are much more concerned about their health and wellness these days than in the past and many of them workout, run and exercise. Yes there is a percentage that come just to drink and get wild but the many students we have met over the past 2 weeks are just here to have some fun.

Many of them do not like the concept of a community who makes money offering them “all you can drink” for a set price at a number of bars. In fact many of them would like to have someplace else to go at night rather than the crowded bars.

Accidents happen when people of any age get out of control. The idea of offering all you can drink to any age group provides the basis for danger and accidents.

Does anyone offer all you can drink healthy drinks or provide a choice for the students to do something else to have fun and meet others?

If you look at the ads from many of the establishments to the colleges in the “Spring Break” guide you will see they promote the idea of sex, drinking and wild parties.

The college atmosphere is changing and students will drink and they do want to have fun but overall they want to do something active to meet others. They are becoming much more concerned about the environment and have innovative ideas to drive change.

If you spend the time on the beach and watch the students and ask them questions they are mostly good kids. They also want to pick up their trash but many times the location of the trash barrels are not convenient.

We know they want to play more sports on the beach and hope to develop further programs and ideas to offer for future Spring Break.  Has anyone ever done any survey with these kids to really determine how to help the community offer new and fun ideas for the kids to meet others and have good clean fun??

It is a shame to have a few kids that go overboard or in the case of our observation we noticed a local who came to the beach asking kids for beers across the beach.  Panama City Beach has an opportunity to work with the students who help make this community profitable and better understand how to change and offer new and innovative ideas to give them fun ways to meet others and the ability to “drink” responsibly.

If we think about it the spring breakers are just our “own kids” trying to become the star in their own lives.  We just need to ask a little more in words and our actions because we need each other and can help make this work if we just listen and learn to engage the students and kids with their ideas.

AVP this week – Pro Volleyball on the Beach

This is just a reminder – don’t forget the Crocs Tour this weekend and all the pro volleyball activities behind Sharky’s this week.

To start it all off AVP will launch the first ever Collegiate Beach Challenge tomorrow where college students from across the country will have the chance to participate in a two-day four-on-four beach volleyball tournament.  There will be men’s, women’s and coed divisions competing for cash prizes.

The finale of the AVP’s Spring Break in Panama City Beach will come at the end of week three, with the AVP Crocs Tour Panama City Beach Open.  In what will serve as the 2009 season-opening event, the AVP Crocs Tour will showcase some of the best beach volleyball players in the world, including 2008 Olympic Gold Medalists, Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers.  A one-day qualifier will begin on Friday morning followed by a live band in the evening.  Men’s and women’s main draw action will start on Saturday morning with the finals scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

The AVP Crocs Tour event will take place directly behind Sharky’s Beach Front Restaurant & Tiki Bar, located in the heart of Panama City Beach at The Towne of Seahaven. In an attempt to revert back to the sport’s beginnings, six of the courts will be set up in “old school” style. This set-up will include minimal bleacher seating, allowing plenty of room for beachgoers to throw down their towels and fully enjoy the beach party atmosphere of Spring Break.

Spring Break Dying Down – We're Almost There, Hang in there.

springbreak2009

Well, I’ve tried my hardest to remain positive about the Spring Break situation on Panama City Beach, and I’ve done quite a great job, mind you.  I will say I’m constantly troubled by the ruckus they cause.  For those of you that are for the college spring break promotion, I challenge you to get in the thick of it and spend some time – sober – and your outlook may just change.  So far, we’ve had three deaths related to spring breakers, and who knows how many other crimes.  Mark Canfora, do you have any solid numbers from this year?

As many of you know, my mother-in-law owns a small rental business on the beach that my wife works for on weekends.  Last year, she said it was a ‘poop‘ year; this year she said it was a ‘puke’ year.  She was telling me that housekeepers found puke in seemingly random spots throughout condos and townhomes.  Thank goodness for damage deposits that cover increased cleaning fees.  I just can’t fathom leaving vomit and fecal matter just laying around.  I’m not the cleanest person out there, but that is just vile.  I was at one of the rentals this morning cleaning up where the breakers from last week just threw their trash wherever they pleased in the general area of the outside trash recepticle.  I filled 12 bags full of garbage that was just laying on the ground.  Thankfully I didn’t have to see any used condoms.  eww.

Well, the big weeks are over.  Last week we had a portion of the 2.1 millions kids out on break on our beaches, but this week only 690,000 kids are out on break nationwide.  This week our beaches should stay cleaner, our Wal-Mart less filled and the traffic a little calmer.  Next week only a third of who’s out on break this week will be celebrating spring break 2009.

Below are a list of schools out on break this week, courtesy of Tripsmarter.com.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter.

March 23-27, 2009 (Mon-Fri)

College / University

Enrollment

Air Force Academy

4,000

Alliant International University

3,402

Arkansas State University

17,401

Bard College

2,062

Birmingham-Southern College

1,500

Boise State University

18,844

Brown University

8,025

California Institute of Technology

2,086

Calvin College

4,200

Central Connecticut State University

12,315

Cerritos College

24,536

Colorado State University, Boulder

28,000

Columbia College Chicago

11,499

Depaul University

25,500

Eastern Connecticut State University

5,113

Elmhurst College

3,000

Elon University

5,496

Harvard University

19,139

Hudson Valley Community College

12,000

Huntingdon College

800

Idaho State University

13,802

Kent State University

29,227

Lewis & Clark College

3,433

Luther College

2,550

Mount Mercy College

1,490

Oregon State University

19,362

Pacific Lutheran University

3,669

San Jose State

28,932

Southern Arkansas University

3,109

Southern University at Baton Rouge

10,364

Tulane University

10,606

University of Arkansas, Little Rock

12,000

University of California, Berkeley

34,953

University of Central Arkansas

12,619

University of Colorado

28,000

University of Hawaii

50,310

University of Illinois, Chicago

21,914

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

42,326

University of Missouri-Columbia

28,477

University of Montevallo

3,000

University of North Alabama

7,323

University of Oregon

20,394

University of Rhode Island

19,095

University of San Francisco

8,447

Wellesley College

2,300

Western Connecticut State University

6,001

Wright State University

16,091

TOTAL

691,038

Hot Dog Story – Do What You Do and Change for No One

viking_dog1

Okay, I know there is so much talk about all the awful things that people see happening in our world. Lucky for me I DO NOT  buy into that.  There will always be challenges and struggles and while this one seems to be very daunting I have learned that those that find the bright spots and DO NOT operate out of fear end up on the top and better yet they enjoy getting there.

Please go to this link and read this incredible hot dog story that just might convince you to just keep on doing those things that you know work.  I have always loved this story and it is quite relevant today.  Do not give in to the negative small minded thinking and talking that we hear so much of. Most of us have more than we need and plenty that we could be sharing with others.

I am so grateful to all of you that have made my life so bright and always filled with promise.  I decided a long time ago to align myself with people that were looking for the possibilities rather than the problems.  I have been writing gratitude list since I was 10 years of age and it has never failed that my life is so filled with more goodness than not.

Thanks to all of you and go read that story and share it with others…. lets the spread the good stuff.   I believe the world needs a shot of happy stuff and I am just the girl to deliver it.

Remember my get even list, it is really long…. “The only people we need to get even with are those that have helped us”

with overflowing gratitude,

Karen Key Smith

New Waterpark in Panama City Beach – Plans

Well, thanks to some good friends is high places, I was able to get my grubby little hands on the plans for the new waterpark that is coming to Panama City Beach.  From the looks of it, the new park seems to have all the necesary features to add quite nicely to the things to do in Panama City Beach.

Some of the items of attraction include a wave pool, activity pool, interactive play structure (envision a three story jungle-gym that pumps water through it in ways even the imagination cannot fully predict), lazy river, inner-tube slides, a family raft ride, and a whole “zone” for surfing.

Enough talk!  Here’s the plans.

Edit 3/23/09:

I’d like to apologize for not being clear as to where this was.  I had specified that in my other post on this, but I should have specified that on this as well.  sorry!  I’d also like to apologize for the delay in response to this.

Below is a map of where it will be located. The new park will be on the east side of Clara Avenue in between Middle Beach and Front Beach Road.  The entire property is around 30 acres, although half of that will be parking.  In the plans is a Flow-Rider surfing feature – more info on that soon!

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