STAND-UP Paddleboarding

STAND-UP Paddleboarding

The Latest Craze in Water Sports

BY LAVERNE STEVENS

Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) is the latest sports craze to come upon the water sports scene. Originating in Hawaii, this sport has created a popular venue for water sports lovers to enjoy the water in a serene setting offering opportunities to encounter up close sightings of Florida wildlife, peaceful views of beautiful Florida land- and lakescapes, and relaxation.

IMG_2319

Stand-up paddleboards come in many different designs. They are made of a bamboo veneer. They come in wide designs with rounded ends to accommodate fishing or thin designs with pointed ends for racing. Either style can be used for just a nice day of relaxing on the water. The SUPs are maneuvered through waters with an adjustable pole operated by one person in a standing position on the board.

IMG_0350

Anyone can paddleboard so long as they know how to swim. In 2008 the U.S. Coastguard classified SUPs as vessels, subjecting them to the same rules as canoes and kayaks when operated out of surfing areas. Unless paddlers are in a swimming, surfing,or bathing area the law requires they must have a USCG approved life jacket, a sound producing device (whistle etc.) and a lighting device if operated after dark. These rules are enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

There are numerous websites offering information about SUP events taking place all over the state of Florida. Enter Paddleboarding in Polk County or paddleboarding in Florida and you’ll find information about classes that offer instruction on how to maneuver and operate the boards. Social events are scheduled where paddleboarders come together for a day trip or fun for a weekend. These events occur throughout the state of Florida.

IMG_0347

Meghan Mackie of Polk County offered clothing and accessories for surfing at her store known as M. Marie Boutique in downtown Winter Haven. Each year she attended the Surf Expo to see what was new on the surfing scene and buy clothes to sell in her shop. Three years ago, a paddleboard company had a display at the Expo and she purchased one for herself. Now she has moved to a new location which puts her place of business right on the edge of Lake Winterset at 6380 Cypress Gardens Blvd. in Winter Haven. She’s located right across the street from the Honda Dealership on Cypress Gardens Blvd. Meghan has teamed up with Chain of Wakes, offering paddleboard sales and rentals. Brands of Paddleboards available at the boutique are Pau Hana and Connelly. They carry beginner boards and racing boards in the 8 ft. to 12 ft. sizes. Opportunities for instruction on how to use them can be arranged.

IMG_6361

There is also a full line of hats, SUP shorts, flip-flops, cover-ups, and bathing suits for men and women in the boutique. There is a wide variety of purses, shoes and jewelry also displayed for sale. One can reach Meghan Mackie at m.marieboutique@gmail.com.or call 863- 318- 9600.

Leave a Comment