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'Board' in Southwest Florida

July 1, 2015
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

For many of us living in Southwest Florida, 'board' in Southwest Florida has a whole new meaning. Stand up paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing recreational paddle sports in the nation and Florida in particular. Estimates of over 10,000 new paddle craft will hit the Lee County waters alone over the upcoming season. A majority of them will be stand-up paddle boards or commonly referred to as SUPs.

SUPs are taking the industry by storm. You can get the standard surf style board for the surf. But there is not a lot of that here unless you hang around the passes waiting to catch the wake of one of the Key West fairies heading out in the morning. We are lucky that we have miles and miles of inter-coastal waterways and rivers with flat water.

The surf style board is at a disadvantage here. The displacement hull is king on this coast. Displacement boards are very popular on this coast because they are faster in flat water conditions. In addition there are boards for touring, racing, and fishing of all kinds of shapes, sizes, and colors.

When looking for a board, don't just look for pretty and shiny. Look for something that will perform the uses you have in mind. Try it out before you buy one. They come in plastic, PVC, fiberglass, and carbon fiber and can weigh from 18 to 50 pounds. Some are very durable while other as fragile as a butterfly.

There are a lot of new companies out there trying to take advantage of the trend. Look for well-established companies with good reviews. Riviera, 404, Blk Box, Yolo, Bark, and Naish are just a few of the better named brands you can find in the area.

When trying a board out, look for glide-ability. When you paddle the board should glide not stop. Look for the company history, do they have issues with delamination? Check the internet for reviews.

Also, when you get done with your board rinse it down with clean fresh water and clear the vent plugs this will help eliminate the chances of delamination.

Remember when paddling in these waters, the U.S Coast Guard requires you to have a pdf, whistle, and light or reflective material to signal with. Paddle safe.

John Paeno

Calusa Ghost Tours

Bonita Springs

 
 

 

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