If you want to learn more about us, you’re in the right place. Read to learn how we started Get Up And Go Kayaking.
Get Up And Go Kayaking started as a small idea in the summer of 2016 while sitting in our car pulled off on the side of the road because a spring reached its capacity. With so many people looking to enjoy a day in the natural springs we have here in Central Florida, it was no doubt that guests would love experiencing them in a completely clear kayak. Owner, Justin Buzzi, and his girlfriend, Tia, set out to be the first clear kayak tour company in all of Florida (which actually ended up being all of the USA)!
We launched the company at the end of Summer 2016 with 3 primary locations: Winter Park, Rock Springs, and Bioluminescence in Titusville. At the time Justin was still working a full time corporate job at GolfNow (as a pricing analyst) and Tia, a full time student at UCF. The first year was full of learning opportunities (aka a few failures) and building a following. Justin also designed the entire website which turned out to be quite the task. During our first bioluminescent season Justin would work often until 3-4am and then be up the next morning for his corporate job at 8am and then repeat for about 3-4 months. As you can imagine, this began to get a little tiring.
It was September of 2017 when Justin decided to leave his full time job and take on kayaking full time and conveniently enough Hurricane Irma came to pay FL a visit! That whole first year of running + operating Get Up And Go Kayaking was as hands on as it gets. From putting clear kayaks together in a 2 bedroom apartment to spending hours exploring waterways. Up to this point we had tried to take as many photos/videos as we could and Tia spent many hours reaching out to viral media sites trying to get our content placed. In October of 2017 we finally had our big break! The viral news outlet, Insider, reached out to ask if they could use some of our content on their Instagram. Timing couldn’t be more perfect. This began a domino effect – media outlets were reaching out left and right, people from all over the world were reaching out to book a tour, our inboxes were flooded and emails were pouring in. Soon we realized this small idea was turning into something bigger than we could have imagined. Everyone wanted to experience this new sensation.
This is when Justin hired his first couple tour guides and ‘retired’ from giving tours himself. His first hire, Alex McKeeman, reached out on Instagram letting him know of his love for anything water and adventure. After having Alex on the team for a few months he tragically passed away while free diving in a cave system on one of his days off. We now hold an Alex McKeeman Memorial Day once a year where 100% of the reservations go directly to a charity of Alex’s family’s choice. While this was a very difficult time, it helped us realize exactly how important the land + waterways that we use as our workplace are. This is a big reason that we choose to give back a portion of all of our reservations to conserving land in Florida.
Now approaching over 125,000,000 views on Facebook and social media, the company has surpassed expectations and continues to expand. With tourists and locals wanting to experience this unique way to adventure, we thought why not expand our tours to other locations and share some of our success with those closest to us. This is when the Get Up And Go Kayaking franchise was born (May of 2018)! One of Justin’s Rock Springs tour guides, Austin, opened the first franchised location in Crystal River. Shortly after, Mario + Sam who were old coworkers of Justin’s joined in and opened their own location too at Rainbow Springs! And now, most of our other locations are owned by family and close friends! Get Up And Go Kayaking is now the first clear kayak tour company to be a franchise in the entire world – and the fastest growing kayak tour company! With now 12 different locations showcasing unique wildlife, marine life, and nature – we hope to never be too far away for an adventure.