Stand Up Paddleboarding with Grande Tours in Placida, Fla.

My Shadow Paddleboarding from Grande Tours, Placida, Fla.opens IMAGE file
My Shadow Paddleboarding from Grande Tours, Placida, Fla.

All the cool kids are doing it so I had to give it a try. Saturday, I finally had the opportunity to try to hottest aquatic sport in the country, stand up paddleboarding. It’s a neat concept, paddling while standing atop something that looks like a wide surfboard or a squashed kayak.

Stand up paddleboarding definitely offers opportunity for incredible views of sea life below. I saw live shells, blue crabs, shrimp and sea grass as I paddled around mangrove islands near opens in a new windowGrande Tours in Placida, Fla. It also offers a great workout for the legs and is terrific practice in balance, an area I have issues.

I crawled atop the board and slowly gathered my balance to stand up straight. Unsure of my footing, taking my sandals off seemed to help a bit with finding my balance. I slightly panicked over wakes in the water and when I heard and saw motorboats charging toward me, I quickly knelt down and held on.

There was no way I was going to fall into the water!


David McRee, "The Beach Hunter", Mastering Stand Up Paddleboarding from Grande Tours, Placida, Fla.opens IMAGE file
David McRee, "The Beach Hunter", Mastering Stand Up Paddleboarding from Grande Tours, Placida, Fla.

David McRee, also known has opens in a new windowThe Beach Hunter, was my guest, and did great in not falling off, too. Like me, he eventually knelt down and eventually sat down on the paddleboard but I’m pretty sure he wasn’t afraid of falling off. He managed boat wakes pretty well while standing up.

This was a wonderful experience, however, my feet ached soon after standing. Not sure if my feet were clenching in fear of falling off or just the nature of the beast. Funny thing is, after kneeling then getting up, my feet no longer hurt. My leg muscles were slightly sore this morning but not too bad. The only injury was a blister on my thumb which means I probably didn’t handle the paddle properly. It also seemed to be slow going in the paddle department and I think this was a combination of the water current, wind and not paying attention to paddling instructions provided during orientation.

Would I do it again? Probably. I mean, any opportunity to get out on the water is an opportunity to seize.

Grande Tours is conveniently located near Englewood, Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte, and Venice, Fla. Every Saturday they offer free kayak and stand up paddleboarding demos from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. A 90-minute paddleboard rental ranges between $35 and $45 (depending on the type you choose to rent). Reservations suggested.

Thanks to Grande Tours for hosting me on this journey.

Grande Tours
12575 Placida Road
Placida, Fla. 33946
Tel: (941) 697-8825
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Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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