Want to know what my favorite type of exercise is? Exercise you don’t realize you’re doing cause you’re having so much fun while doing it — know what I mean? This past weekend I discovered what I think will become one of my favorite activities: Stand Up Paddle Boarding. I headed out to beautiful New Smyrna Beach to take a guided ecotour with East Coast Paddle.
One of the things that attracted me to East Coast Paddle is their stand up paddle boarding ecotours, as an environmental enthusiast I knew I would enjoy it. The ecotour provided by East Coast Paddle guides you through a beautiful estuary full of all the things that make Florida such a beautiful ecosystem: mangroves, birds, manatees & dolphins. It was incredible to see so many dolphins…we were this close!
Todd was our guide & he was awesome! He started the tour by telling us about the differences between boards. East Coast Paddle actually manufactures eco-friendly boards that are wider & sturdier than most of the ones out in the marketplace, which makes it easier to enjoy as a beginner. They also manufacter boards for all sorts of activities such as fishing & surfing. The paddles we used were perfect for a layback stroll through the water.
Before we each got on our paddles Todd walked us through stand up paddle boarding basics. You start by getting on the paddle on your knees & working on your stroke (similar to a canoe or kayak stroke). Once you have the swing of it you prop yourself up & stand on your feet. Because the paddles are wide getting up is not hard, I was surprised at how simple it was.
Once we were up we followed Todd through an oyster bay (it was cool to see how many oysters were along the mangroves), manatee cove (where manatees go to breed & feed), all while enjoying the sun, the beautiful scenery & being one with nature. It was great to glide through the water & know the place we were at & its animals, its habitat, is protected & well kept by everyone who enjoys it. It’s absolutely beautiful!
Most of us managed to stay on our paddles the entire time, I even made it to the very end dry…that is until it was time to get back on the boat. I lost my balance as I was trying to pull in & ended up in the water but I was totally cool with that because the water was perfect & I’m totally okay with making a fool of myself from time to time. Plus I’m not going to lie, it was fun to splash around in the cool water!
Once we made it back to the dock we said bye to the others who came out with us (a great group of people — hi guys!) & to our guides & headed back home with a smile on our face & a new found love for stand up paddle boarding. The next day I woke up with sore arms, sore core & sore calves so I know I not only had fun but actually got a good workout out of it. In all, East Coast Paddle was incredible; I highly recommend you check it out! The people were great, the tour was educational & fun; it truly was an amazing experience I can’t wait to have again (you can check out all the pictures we gook on our Facebook page). If you’re ever in the Central Florida area head over to New Smyrna & go on a stand up paddle board tour with East Coast Paddle, you’ll love it!
Have you ever tried stand up paddle boarding? If you have, what did you think? If you haven’t, would you like to?
Full Disclosure: My experience at East Coast Paddle was complimentary. I was not required to write about it, or provide a positive or negative review; all opinions are my own.