Paddle Boarding on the Emerald Coast
Whether you are a tourist or a local, it’s always great to find a new adventure or hobby that is both fun and relatively safe. Also, some of us need to find adventures that are budget-friendly. This past weekend, I found a great new pastime that is easy on my wallet, fun, peaceful, and great exercise. That new pastime is paddle boarding.
A few months back, I attended the multi-chamber Business After Hours, which consisted of Crestview Area Chamber, Destin Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Niceville Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at Northlight Marina in Niceville, and it was a great event! At that event, I won a door prize which was 1 free hour of paddle boarding with Paradise Paddle Boards. I finally had some free time and I decided to try out this new adventure with my son, who is 11 going on 30.
We arrived at Bluewater Marina at Lj Schooner’s Restaurant, where Paradise Paddle Boards sets up shop right next door at Schooner’s Beach. We met Jimmie there, who is one of the owners of this business. She went through all of the safety procedures, fitted our paddles, and gave us all life vests. By law, kids have to wear them and adults just have to have them on the board (just in case).
We started off on our knees at first until we felt comfortable enough to stand up, which didn’t take long. After just a few strokes through the water, I was up on my feet paddling away. If you have ever paddled a canoe or a kayak, the paddling is the same motion. It was much easier than I expected. Before doing this, I thought that it was going to put my balancing skills to the test, but not at all. The board itself is big enough that balance is not even a real issue, as long as you stay in the middle of the board. We were even tested a few times by the small wake of some boats passing through the marina. The boaters were great about staying clear from us, as were we in the mindset to avoid the pathway of boats.
My son, Patrick Jr, started out on the board with me and we took turns paddling the board around the marina. Later, after we both had the hang of the sport, they gave Patrick Jr his own board to paddle around. He had absolutely no problems. It was a great experience and was a great time bonding with my son.
Jimmie from Paradise Paddle Boards was great about instructing us on how to maneuver the paddle boards as well as boating rules. She was also full of tips and tricks. As we approached our hour of allotted time, she even let us take another loop around the marina. Paddling around the water for just over an hour was a little tiring from working muscles in my body that I didn’t even remember I had, but it was disappointing to quit. Being out on the water on a board paddled by my own strength was very peaceful and relaxing. It forces you to slow down and admire the beauty of the area. I can’t wait to go back and get out on a paddle board again.
Paradise Paddle Boards not only rents paddle board by the hour, but they are also a Starboard dealer. Starboard paddle boards are among the lightest weight paddle boards on the market. They have a wide range of styles to choose from including entry level boards all the way up to carbon fiber racing boards. If you have never tried paddle boarding before, I highly recommend you contact Jimmie at Paradise Paddle Boards and rent a board for a few hours to try it out. But I caution you, because after spending a few hours on the water, you will likely love it so much that you will soon be the proud owner of brand new paddle board.