Stand Up Paddleboarding with Grande Tours in 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 Grande 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, also known has The 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.
12575 Placida Road
Placida, Fla. 33946
Tel: (941) 697-8825