Pushing The Limits
With work schedules that keep us glued to our desks and emails that have us working late into the evening, we know what it’s like to need to break free. These six locals push the boundaries outside of their day-to-day jobs with impressive, extreme hobbies. We suspect that their passions will motivate you to pick up an extracurricular or two of your own
ATV Motorcross Champion
One could say he was born into it. His father was a motocross professional, and the two used to ride together. Jeffrey Rastrelli started riding heavily at age 10. By age 12, he was riding faster than his father.
Today, the Palm City native travels all over the East Coast, and as far as Texas and Minnesota, for ATV motocross competitions. His dedication to his sport has paid off – he finished seventh in the nation in the Pro class last year, and won the Pro-Am class. But he’s not stopping there.
“I want to be the best, to win the Pro Championship,” the 21-year-old says. And to do that, he needs to be in the best shape possible. He trains religiously, doing 30-minute practice races four times a week. He cross-trains in the gym, runs and stays active so he can be prepared. Motocross requires every muscle in the body to work. “No one really realizes how much we have to do,” Rastrelli explains.
It’s a grueling circuit, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. And his family is there to support him through every turn.
Jack Elkins grew up on the waterways of South Florida. He had his first Boston Whaler boat by the time he was 5 years old, and would take it out on his own to visit his friends. That passion has carried over into adulthood. “Any free time I have, I’m literally on a boat or beach somewhere,” he says.
Now a successful real estate agent for Fite Shavell & Associates in Palm Beach, his specialty is showcasing the area from a front-seat waterfront view: his boat. But Elkins isn’t one to be satisfied floating idly. He thrives off a challenge and pushing it to the next level. His life dream is to travel by sailboat from Russia to Alaska – one of the most dangerous crossings in the world.
“Once you go, you go,” he explains, referring to the extreme nature of this sail. It doesn’t allow for second guessing or turning back. The training required is extensive, preparing Elkins and the rest of the crew for 12-hour days at sea. He hopes to carry out this plan, which he formed with a client five years ago, within the next four years.
Kate Arrizza discovered her passion for the water at an early age. “My mom threw me in the pool before I could even remember,” she recalls. And though she was encouraged to try all sports, it was swimming that became her passion.
The Jupiter Farms native went on to become an all-state swimmer in high school, and was later recruited to the Naval Academy swim team. After graduation, she spent 10 years in the Navy, and was stationed in Virginia, Japan and California.
Upon returning home, Arrizza took a position as an educator at the South Florida Science Center. In just six years, she has worked her way up to chief operating officer. But, she hasn’t abandoned her sport.
Arrizza competes in four or five long-distance swimming competitions each year that are mostly based in Florida. Her last competition was eight miles for the Annual Swim for Alligator Light event in the Florida Keys. She finished in six hours flat. “My passion for science and passion for swimming in the ocean have shaped the adult I have become,” she smiles.
Her next endurance competition is even longer. The 12.5-mile Swim Around Key West, which she enters every year, is scheduled for June.
“Flying was what I wanted to do ever since I was a little kid,” says Joes Keating, the founder of Keating-Moore Construction. But it wasn’t until his 50th birthday that Keating got up in the air. His wife surprised him with a flight from North Palm Beach to the Florida Keys for a celebration. “I was sitting right up front, looking through the windows,” he recalls.
Joe Keating now flies his own Aviat Husky A-1B seaplane, and has his own hangar. He has logged 550 hours as a visual flight pilot, and is working toward his instrument rating, which will allow him to fly using instruments alone. “It’s become my passion for the last 5 years,” Keating explains.
He credits aviator-author Richard Bach as his inspiration. Keating started conversing with the author soon after he started flying. It was Bach who sold him his two-seater seaplane. Keating now carries his books in his plane, always eager to share the author’s works with others.
Flying has also become a way for Keating to contribute to the community. He makes deliveries of medical equipment for Clinics Can Help, and keeps himself unofficially on call for the organization. “I’m having fun,” the 56-year-old says. And he plans to keep it that way.
“It’s my playground,” he explains. Bob Edmiston is referring to the sky and his passion for jumping into it. Edmiston is a skydiver. He performed his first tandem dive strapped to an instructor in 1991. And he was hooked. Edmiston went back the very next weekend, and he’s kept going ever since. In nine years, Edmiston has dived 1,485 times.
His specialty is in a discipline known as Canopy Relative Work, or CReW. This elite class of divers jump and create formations while they are hooked to each other, requiring each member of the team to be highly skilled. Even an inch can make a difference. Edmiston competes regularly in CReW, along with other disciplines. His team will compete in the USPA National Skydiving Championship in June, where they will be defending their gold medal.
But the Port St. Lucie resident has the most fun during demonstration jumps. His demonstration team has jumped into stadiums, golf courses and the Palm Beach Polo Club, among other events. And it never gets old. “You might be scared for two to three seconds, then it’s the best feeling in the world,” Edmiston says.
“I like trail riding at speed,” Megan Davis smiles. “The show ring is not the place for me.” Davis is no stranger to animals. She was born in Zimbabwe, where she grew up on a 37,000-acre ranch. Her father was a rider, and threw her and her siblings on horses when they were practically in diapers.
She moved to Palm City after completing a degree in veterinarian medicine from North Carolina State University. She runs a mobile clinic, and keeps horses on her and her husband’s property. These horses are bred and trained specifically for endurance riding.
Davis is a distance rider, sometimes covering as many as 105 miles in one day on horseback during events. “Endurance is a competition against time and terrain,” she explains. Trails consist of a series of loops, starting at a base camp, with stopping points in between the loops where a veterinarian examines the horses. No horse deemed unfit to proceed is allowed to continue in the competition.
Davis is one of only two endurance riders south of the Orlando area to compete in 100-mile events. But when she’s on the trail, it’s her and her horse. “I feel like the world is mine,” she says.