You’ve seen Yak-Tribe’s stickers and hats everywhere in the kayak fishing community. Now you may get to see the creator on the road. We caught up with Heath Panganiban to learn what Yak Tribe was all about and why his family decided to take it on the road.
What started Yak Tribe:
About three years ago, I had just bought my Hobie Outback and I pulled up to the boat launch and I was getting red faces from every big boater there that was trying to launch their boat.
I was to the side trying to be a good boy, be quiet, and put my kayak in and they were just going off. It was a typical day for that boat ramp. I remember thinking to myself ‘I really dislike how the community of boaters is and I really hope that doesn’t happen with kayak fishermen.’
About a year later I decided to start Yak Tribe. Apparel and tournaments weren’t in my mindset but I wondered if we could create a platform where people felt like I did could connect.
What Is Yak Tribe’s Goal:
The slogan of Yak Tribe is “Real People, Real Stories, Real Connections.” The whole idea is to just do life together. I’m not trying to do a kumbaya and dance around the fire but can’t we just be more personable? There’s no “crap” in this community. We organically became a family. Not to be corny, but we really became a tribe
Our goal is just to grow the kayak fishing industry with that mindset. A group of family members that really care about each other no matter what kind of kayak or gear they use or their differing views and beliefs.
It’s really more than just a kayak fishing group. We just try to do good wherever we go.
What made you decide to build Yak-Tribe on the road?:
I’ve been in ministry for about 10 years. I really started to feel like our platform had gained some legs. From coming from ministry, I really cared about people. There’s so much more to life than just “What’s up?” and “See you later.”
So I explained to my wife that I felt a pull to get out and meet these people that I was connecting with. My wife is a “mommy blogger” and I do marketing on the side. I thought, “Maybe, we can sustain ourselves.” So we took a leap of faith.
How long do you envision your extended road trip to be?:
Let’s just say, we don’t have a return date. We will be in Louisiana next month, then Florida, then Georgia and Tennessee. We will be coming back to Alabama because we love the people here. We just don’t have an “It’s time to go home” date.
What is it like raising a young family while traveling?:
When you downsize from a house to an RV, you really get to know your family. We really have to be mindful of our kids. They didn’t get a say in this journey. We have a three year old and a one year old.
We really have to be mindful of their feelings and adjustments. If we see that they’re getting agitated, we bring them outside to go for a walk or to a playground. We have to let them de-stress and run around and just be kids.
The worst thing that we could do as parents is bring them on this trip, coop them up, change their lifestyle so drastically, and not let them just be kids.
It is difficult, but at the same time they love it. Having your family together all the time to share these experiences is going to be ingrained in their blood. It is 100 percent worth it.
With all the work that you put into your family and Yak Tribe, do you ever get the time to just relax and fish?:
I get to do that more often than people think. I do put a lot of work into Yak Tribe. I am always concerned about other people in our community that may need any help or want to go fishing. But at the same time, my RV park right now is right across the street from a landing.
I keep my kayak loaded in the back of my truck and probably three or four times a week, I pop over to the launch and just fish by myself. That’s my time to decompress.