Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Things To Do

Stand up for exercise and scenery while paddleboarding

Is success measured by staying dry or falling into refreshing Lake Virginia?

Hard to say. In a "friendly first-timers" paddleboarding trip put on by Paddleboard Orlando, most paddleboarders end up wet. But no one cares. No one laughs at you. No one's counting.

The purpose of the trip is manifold: experience the natural beauty of Central Florida, burn some calories, learn a new sport and have fun.

"There's lots of history, and the homes are gorgeous," Ned Johnson, owner and president of Paddleboard Orlando, said of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes.

"There's water you can see through."

Stand-up paddleboarding, which takes place on a thicker and wider version of a surfboard, offers a special vantage point.

"If you're sitting in a kayak or canoe, you never see any of the wildlife on shore because you're sitting down," said Chuck Congden, owner and head instructor of Central Florida Paddleboarding.

That includes otter, deer, birds, maybe even wild monkeys, said Congden, who takes many of his guests on paddleboarding trips on the Wekiva River north of Orlando.

"A lot of the tourists we get have no idea there's a river like that here," Congden said. "The waterways here are, for the most part, very pristine. With paddleboarding, you get to go out and explore the natural waterways of Florida. It's something that's not so scripted."

Speaking of unscripted, maintaining or losing one's balance on the paddleboard keeps the trips interesting. Besides, it's hot outside and the water is cool.

Almost anybody can paddleboard, regardless of age or fitness level, but you must know how to swim.

"You hear them say to each other, 'I can't believe I'm doing this,'" Congden said.

Beginner tours take you on lakes and rivers with less current, making it easier to paddle your way around. First-timer sessions usually start with a basic tutorial on paddling. Guides paddle along with you to make sure you are standing correctly and holding the paddle the right way -- and not getting swept off course by the current.

Barefoot is best, quips Johnson who, along with his nephew and co-owner, David "Booboo" Rose, creates a party-like atmosphere on the Paddleboard Orlando trips.

Swimsuits aren't a requirement, but do expect whatever clothes you're wearing to get wet, even if you don't fall in. Sunglasses not on a cord are not recommended.

Even on a short trip out, guides stop to rest weary arms and legs. Hot-shot paddleboarders show off by doing handstands on their boards. Swimming and games sometime take place.

Beginner paddleboarders tend to be a mix of locals and tourists.

"It was easier than I thought," said Seth Schwartz, who was visiting Central Florida from Augusta, Ga.

DeBary resident Steve Mccanna, 59, said he was impressed with how organized and well-manned the Paddleboard Orlando trips are.

"That was great," Mccanna said. "I enjoyed it. I liked the exercise. Once you got a hang of it, you could relax a little."

You don't have to be a first-timer to take a beginner tour. Several folks are repeat students, back with different friends for new fun.

Intermediate and advanced tours in the Central Florida area include a sunset trip on Lake Shipp in Winter Haven, a bioluminescence trip in Titusville, a manatee-sighting trip in Crystal River, sunrise paddleboarding on Silver Springs River, and dolphin-sighting tours in New Smyrna Beach.

Many of the paddleboarding companies provide a life-vest-equipped board, paddle and guides.

Paddleboarders can expect to pay $35 to $60 per person, depending on the length of the trip. Some have standing trips on the weekends but accept special weekday appointments. In the summers, many Saturday morning rides are filled to capacity, with guests eager to enjoy the outdoors in a different way.

"I love the freedom, that you're in charge of your own ship," Johnson said. "I like to show how easy it is to feel like that."

This story originally appeared on Visit Florida, http://www.visitflorida.com.

 
Comments
Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Spin Doctors’ Chris Barron talks touring at 50, being the ‘Two Princes’ guy and more

Go back and read Rolling Stone's 1993 cover story on the Spin Doctors — yep, that's a thing that actually happened — and the first quote from singer Chris Barron jumps out."I don't want to be 50 years old and be out on the road with my vo...
Updated: 25 minutes ago

Wednesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballGeorgia at South Carolina6:30 p.m.SECXavier at Georgetown6:30 p.m.FS1North Carolina at Syracuse7 p.m.ESPNGeorgia Tech at Virginia7 p.m.ESPN2Texas Tech at Oklahoma State7 p.m.ESPNUSMU at East Carolina7 p.m.ESPNewsClemson at Virg...
Updated: 7 hours ago
SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

SoundBytes: Coheed and Cambria, Taking Back Sunday, Dua Lipa, Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and more

— Prog-punk and emo will meet this summer when Coheed and Cambria and Taking Back Sunday embark on a summer tour that stops at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on July 7. The Story So Far will open. Tickets are $29.50 and up. Click here...
Published: 02/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 22

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 22

Air Supply: The legendary Australian soft rock duo are known for Lost in Love, All Out of Love and Making Love Out of Nothing, 8 p.m., Capitol Theatre, 405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. $65-$89. (727) 791-7400.Andrew Schulz: The former star of MTV’s Guy...
Published: 02/20/18
Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

Hernando symphony tackles old and new favorites

BROOKSVILLE — From Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra to Bruno Mars and Carlos Santana — tunes from all over the musical spectrum.Those are a taste of the old and new favorites audiences can enjoy when the Hernando Symphony Orchestra presents its Spectrum...
Published: 02/20/18
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 21

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Feb. 21

Mary J. Blige: Iconic Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and philantrophist is on her Strength of a Woman tour. 7:30 p.m., Amalie Arena, 401 Channelside Drive, Tampa. $47.25-$247.25. (813) 301-2500. The Glass Menagerie: Tennessee Willia...
Published: 02/20/18
Read these negative reviews of The Breakfast Club from 1985

Read these negative reviews of The Breakfast Club from 1985

Let's face it: Not every John Hughes flick in the '80s was an instant classic. Some never became classics at all. (We're looking at you, Curly Sue.) But can't we all basically agree that 1985's The Breakfast Club was in a class of its own? Not the Ho...
Published: 02/20/18
Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Snoop Dogg, T.I. to headline inaugural Halftime Music Festival in Tampa

Are you ready for an all-new hip-hop festival in Tampa?Snoop Dogg and T.I. are scheduled to headline the inaugural Halftime Music Festival on May 5 in the North Lot of Raymond James Stadium. Also on the bill: Karol G, Baby Rasta y Gringo and Brytiago...
Published: 02/20/18
Amy Hill Hearth’s ‘Streetcar to Justice’ brings back a forgotten story of black history

Amy Hill Hearth’s ‘Streetcar to Justice’ brings back a forgotten story of black history

During Black History Month, many students learn about Rosa Parks, the civil rights activist who in 1955 refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white passenger — and rode into history.A century before that, another black woman mad...
Published: 02/20/18
Notable: Five new books for young readers for Black History Month

Notable: Five new books for young readers for Black History Month

NotableBlack History MonthHere are five more newly published books for young readers, for Black History Month or any time.Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Assassin (Scholastic Press, ages 12 and up) by James L. Swanson, w...
Published: 02/20/18