The Beginning of ONAKWEST
It started in 1995 during a fishing trip to the Florida Keys. Russell, Joe, C.C and myself (Larry) were staying at the “Boatel”, one of the fishing houses owned by Mrs. Lilo, at Duck Key.
It was my first fly-fishing trip for Tarpon. I was excited and nervous at the thought of hooking a Tarpon on a fly.
We arrived just after noon. We unloaded all of our gear and launched both boats.
One was a 17′ Key-west Stealth. Recently purchased and in pristine condition. The other, Mr. Russell’s, was well-used 14′ Stumpknocker straight from the marshes of Northeast Florida. We were just in time to hit the flats off Grassy Key to search for Bonefish.
That afternoon was a bust, no ‘Bones’ about it. We had a great trip anyway. That evening we were tying rigs for Tarpon and telling stories about other trips we had been on in the past, when Russell, a large man wearing a goatee, a T-shirt and a pair of medical ‘greens’, stood up and said, “I’m on a quest for a 200 pound Tarpon on a fly”.
That was it! The idea hit me and ONAKWEST was born.
At first, it was just a good name for a boat, but it slowly evolved into the company it is today.
That trip to the Keys was a good one, as most are. We caught a few Tarpon and had a great time, but, the best thing that happened was the inspiration for a great line of Outdoor Active wears.
Since then I’ve noticed, “Everyone is…ONAKWEST, what’s yours?”
ONAKWEST for our Community & Others!
OnaKwest partnered with Florida State University football head coach Jimbo Fisher and his wife, Candi, national fund to fuel the quest for a cure for Fanconi anemia, a very rare life-threatening disorder that afflicts their 6-year-old son, Ethan, and many others.
Money raised through the campaign called OnaKwest for a Cure will support research into Fanconi anemia at the University of Minnesota, one of the leading universities pioneering better ways to treat the disorder, in advance of finding a cure. The campaign raised research dollars for the Kidz 1st Fund, just established by the Fishers, through the sale of t-shirts, wristbands and other products and through online donations.
OnaKwest was proud to participate in the “Ice Bucket Challenge” that accelerated the fight against ALS.
The $115 million in donations raised through the 2014 ALS Ice Bucket Challenge spurred a massive increase in The ALS Association’s capacity to invest in promising research, the development of assistive technologies, and increased access to care and services for people with ALS. Since 2014, we have committed more than $131 million toward our mission, including over $118 million committed specifically to worldwide research collaborations.