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Home > Community Voices > Women In Fitness Feature: Debbie Gillikin

Fit Columbia and Midlands Anchor honors local women in fitness with a monthly feature celebrating their contributions to our midlands community. These women are the best of the best in the health and wellness industry. These women are local small business owners, active in the community and have a minimum of five years experience. Our May 2018 feature is Debbie Gillikin. Our feature is written by Fit Columbia’s Jenna Yacovone and Angie Sellers.

California Republic opened in August 2010 and, not far after this quiet opening, quickly transformed from a skateboard and paddleboard retail shop into a tremendous opportunity changing the way people around the Columbia area enjoy Lake Murray. This unique business specializes in stand-up paddleboard sales, rentals, children’s summer camps, and fitness events such as paddleboard yoga. The mission at California Republic is quite simple: to affect positive change in the community of Lake Murray.  While Debbie specifically specializes in marketing and media for California Republic, you will always catch her out on a board at camps and fitness events. She, along with the rest of the crew at California Republic, commit to be the best stand up paddleboard instruction, creating positive change in clients’ lives, setting them apart from others in the industry.

The main location is on a beautiful Southshore Marina property in Leesburg, South Carolina; however, the business travels around the lake to different locations, going where they need to meet the needs of customers. Debbie, along with owner Steve Fisher, are proud California Republic has evolved into a seasonal full-time business where they “get paid to goof around” with kids during the 6 scheduled summer camps, introduce hundreds of people to the paddle sport, and engage in the local paddleboard community at Lake Murray and in the southeast each summer.  From dawn to dusk each day, it is nothing but standup paddleboarding for California Republic and Debbie Gillikin.

We got to spend some time with Debbie and Steve on the lake and can’t wait to get back out there this summer.  We had a couple newbies in the group and within about 15 minutes they felt like they really had a handle on things.  Debbie and Steve were really knowledgeable and informative. The veteran paddle boarders in the group were excited to try knew things on and off the board.  We highly recommend paddle boarding with Debbie to anyone looking for a fun day out on the water.

Q&A with Our Fit Feature:

What activities/hobbies do you enjoy in your leisure time?

“I love stand up paddle boarding of course but I also love road cycling, hiking, traveling and exploring, camping in my teardrop camper and I’ve been teaching yoga since 2012.” 

What is a personal goal of yours?

“One personal goal is to live in a foreign country for at least one year.”

What are your favorite quotes?

“Death is a tragedy only for those who have not lived.” – Unknown Author

“Everything is waiting for you.” – David Whythe

What is your favorite summer snack?

“Watermelon and fresh fruit”

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