Last year we had an opportunity to try something I had been hoping to do since we moved down here – paddle boarding. As a full time resident, business owner, and family of four, it is sometimes hard to make time for fun adventures like this – but I am so glad we finally did… and then it took me almost a year to tell you all about it! Well, better late then never!
Before moving down here, I was not familiar with paddle boarding at all – if you are wondering what I am referring to, here is a picture of what it looks like. Basically, you need a long wide board that reminds me of a surfboard (although I have heard paddle boards are easier to balance on) and one paddle with a long handle. You can stand, kneel, or sit criss-cross depending on what feels most comfortable. We rented our boards from the Surferbus and were given a short lesson on how to maneuver the boards before being sent on our way!
Starting on the bay side and headed toward Robison preserve, we navigated through a beautiful mangrove covered waterway and had to duck to make sure not to get caught in the branches. It was beautiful – almost like something out of a fairy tale! We continued down the waterway enjoying the birds, the sun, and the quiet. Before heading back to turn our boards in, we spent some time watching the jumping fish. Here is some of what we saw:
We also spotted many types of birds, jellyfish, stingrays, crabs, and even a manatee! For us, it was just as peaceful and relaxing as it looks and we hope to go again soon!
If you are interested in going, here are some tips based on our experience and talking with others who have tried it as well!
1.) Different boards tend to be more or less difficult – the rental agencies tend to use boards that are easier to balance.
2.) We rented from Surferbus (native rentals) and had a great experience – but there are other rental companies you can try as well.
3.) We paddle boarded on the bay side and through Robison Preserve on a calm day…. I am not sure how different it would be on the gulf side, but I am sure the choppier water would provide more of a challenge.
4.) Be on the look out for wildlife – it is everywhere!
5.) Bring water and wear sunscreen!!! Depending on where and when you go, there is a good chance that you will be in the sun most of the time.
Enjoy! It is a fun way to explore.