Paddleboard SWFL
Get on the water

The Story

 

I created Paddleboard SWFL (Southwest Florida) to get people outside. 

I was born and raised here in Fort Myers, Florida; thus, I have had the luxury of spending most of my life enjoying the wonders of the outdoors.  My childhood was filled with climbing trees, swimming in the ocean, playing sports, windsurfing with my family and fishing - all inviting me to love the outdoors.  Having unlimited access to Southwest Florida's pristine environment has shaped the course of my life.



I graduated from Florida International University in Miami, Florida.  While attending FIU, my major was undecided until I enrolled in Introduction to Environmental Studies.  I found my motivation for this course unhindered.  I didn't consciously recognize my passion for the environment until enrolling in this class.  As soon as I discovered Environmental Studies was a major, I declared it as my own.  With my degree and my passion for the outdoors, I feel it is absolutely necessary to expose as many people to Earth's wonders as I am able.  My love of surfing naturally lead me to explore paddleboarding.  As an animal lover, a beach baby,
and an exercise enthusiast, I found paddleboarding was a perfect fit.       

I feel many of us are stuck indoors.  Paddleboarding is a sport with a high success rate. It allows almost anyone to get on the water and see the world in a way that they have never experienced it before.  Paddleboarding accommodates adventurers of all ages from children to the more seasoned.  People of different backgrounds enjoy paddleboarding as well - from those who are avid kayak enthusiasts to those who have never paddled before.       

Paddleboarding offers something other sports do not.  I have skiied, wakeboarded, run, whitewater rafted, snorkeled, snowboarded, surfed, kayaked (whitewater and ocean), swam, fished, and played numerous teams sports - but paddleboarding sticks out.  It allows you to appreciate what is going on around you without intense labor or serious risk of injury.  It allows you to literally become a part of the world around you as you glide along with manatees or through the mangrove forests following a yellow-crowned night heron.  You have the flexibility to change your view with sitting, kneeling or standing.  As you forget about the world you left behind, you leave your stress, worries and perspective with it - as paddleboarding offers mental relaxation.  For those who love to exercise it is a perfect way to sweat while breathing fresh air.      

I am not able to translate how amazing it is to paddleboard.  It's not an advertising ploy - literally - you have to come out and experience it for yourself. 

A dolphin tale:
       
       Dolphins are one of the most incredible creatures on this planet.  Dolphins still evoke a sense of awe in me, even after a lifetime of sightings.  I had one of the most glorious moments with two dolphins on my paddleboard at Bowditch Park.  My excitement began to build as a pod of dolphins made their way toward my board.  Looking into the water, I could see their dark shadows coming closer, and then they came to the surface for a breath of air just yards away from my board.  I figured the pod would split to avoid me - but to my astonishment - two dolphins maintained a direct path toward me.  "Woah, Woah... WOAH!" came from my mouth as the two dolphins swam straight to my board, as though they were going to bump me.  At the last possible moment, they turned on their sides and swam centimeters below my board - looking right at me!  As I tried to contain my heart within my chest, they continued on as if nothing had happened.  I was awestruck.      


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