Hooked-up: Harbor debuts Pelagic High Performance Offshore

Jessica Coker
Pelagic High Performance Offshore is located in HarborWalk Village at 34 Harbor Blvd. Call 850-650-0230.

According to 3-year-old Laurence Beaupre and his grandpa Mark Handrop, both Destin residents and fishing aficionados, the place to be and to be seen last weekend was HarborWalk Village for the grand-opening of its newest retailer, Pelagic High Performance Offshore.

Catching him between bites, the miniature-angler manages to share a bit of information with The Log before getting lost again in his plate, "I go fishing all the time."

Crab Island Cantina provided food for the more than 100 guests who high-tailed it to the harbor for the grand-opening of Pelagic on Friday, Nov. 2.

The brightly colored store is stocked to the gills with everything an outdoorsman might need for a day on the water — clothing, stickers, protective gear, paddleboards, fishing gear, boating gear, even marine artwork and loads more.

Pelagic is a lifestyle brand whose underwater roots run deep in everything ocean-related.

The company was created by those and for those who are passionate about the Earth's oceans, which cover about 75 percent of the planet.

Landon and Shannon Joyner, business-savvy brothers, opened the doors of the franchise in early September.

The original Pelagic was founded by Ron Kawaja in Newport Beach, Calif., in 2002. The Joyners met Kawaja around the same time he was trying to get the company off of the ground. "He had this great business idea, but at the time he was selling everything from a garage," said Shannon.

Marine art is a major focus of the Pelagic location on the harbor. Lining the walls inside and outside the store are dozens of marine-inspired metal wall hangings created by a group of artists called Fish Bones, who are out of Big Pine Key.

"Eventually it's going to be one big reef scene, going from smallest to largest," said co-owner Landon.

Featuring everything from metal jellyfish and alligators to flamingos and a mermaid, Landon goes on to say that, "the ones hanging up against the wall outside are the largest pieces the artists have ever made before."

Tony Ludovico, the renowned marine and underwater photographer known for traveling the world for nearly two decades with his camera in hand, has tons of pictures on display at Pelagic.

Ludovico, of Tampa, gets his trademark underwater shots by depending solely on whatever natural lighting the situation has and free diving.

"Scuba gear is loud and intrusive; it usually scares the marine life away. It’s best to not use it," said Ludovico.

Ludovico continues, saying, "I'm sure everyone waiting for me on the boat gets nervous but I can free dive to about 90 feet, and I can hold my breath underwater for about four minutes."

Some of Ludovico's photos are being turned into clothing for a women's line, and the Joyner brothers already have a few of the pieces, tying all aspects of their business back together.

The Florida-natives said that becoming part of a franchise like Pelagic seemed like a natural choice for them.

"We've been offshore fishing together forever," said Shannon.

The duo told The Log that starting any business takes a lot of thought, but it was something they could do and enjoy together.

He goes on to say that the ride hasn’t been completely smooth.

"This location was abandoned when we moved in; it looked like a disaster area,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and a lot of money to make it right."