Florida festival will benefit coral-reef restoration

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Dragonfly Paddleboards, the Wyland Foundation and The Florida KeysKeeper teamed up to help Mote Marine Lab raise money to restore coral reefs at Mote’s fifth annual Florida Keys Ocean Festival on March 29 in Key West.

KeysKeeper director Steve Trippe and Mark Castlow, manager of Dragonfly Boatworks LLC in Vero Beach, came up with a plan to raise $25,000 for Mote’s coral restoration in the Florida Keys. Two Fishing Edition Dragonfly paddle boards are being readied for a raffle on June 1. The Fishing Edition includes paddle, cooler and trailer.

Jason Wolf, manager of Mote’s Protect Our Reefs program, contacted the Wyland Foundation for custom graphics on the boards. The raffle is limited to 250 tickets at $100 apiece.

“We’re happy to donate for reef restoration,” Dragonfly Boatworks founder Mark Castlow said in a statement. “Some of my happiest memories originated in the Keys, and I plan to have lots more The two paddle boards, coolers, paddles and trailers would normally retail for about $6,000,” he added, “and their value is increased immeasurably by the custom artwork from the well-known and world-acclaimed marine artist, Wyland.”

KeysKeeper is acquiring and donating the second board and accessories, Trippe said.

The paddle boards are to be displayed at the Ocean Festival. The raffle will take place when tickets are sold out or on June 1, whichever comes first, at the Smokin Tuna Saloon in Key West.

Tickets will be available for purchase at the Ocean Festival and later at the Fury Surf Shack, The Angling Company and online at www.keysoceanfest.org.

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