Sarasota Knows What’s SUP
Many call it the best experience they’ve ever had, standing on what looks like a large surfboard and paddling through the open water. The Hawaiian sport of standup paddleboarding (SUP) is growing in popularity, and we in the Sarasota area are surrounded by ocean water that makes for perfect paddling.
If you haven’t experienced SUP for yourself, there’s no time like the present to give it a try. Some look at paddleboarding as a fitness sport, and they’re not wrong. Maintaining balance works your core and legs, and paddling utilizes the muscles in your arms and back. However, it’s also an enjoyable recreational activity, one that is easily accessible for people of all ages. Just being out on the water and paddling to cool places offers pleasures and rewards that staying on land simply can’t provide.
“It’s a phenomenal workout. So, it’s great for the body,” says Rob Alfieri, the owner of SUP Sarasota. “You’re out on the water, you’re out with marine life, you’re out with nature; so, it’s also very good for the soul as well—the spirit— because you’re really connecting with nature and connecting with the water.”
SUP Sarasota offers what it calls ‘Eco-Tours’, on-water, guided tours conducted from a kayak or paddleboard. These explore the local beauty of the Little Sarasota Bay and Mangrove Islands, areas which are frequented by majestic manatees and dolphins. Paddlers will also be taken to beautiful Historic Spanish Point, a place where the oldest natives of what is now Florida once called home.
“It’s total beautiful, un-spoiled, undeveloped Old Florida. It’s a tremendous way to experience what Florida used to be like,” Rob says. “We kind of give you a little bit of history on the water, and show you around all the totally untouched, unspoiled mangrove islands and tunnels.”
SUP Sarasota offers a variety of tours, each tailored to a unique aesthetic taste. Yet, all tours will bring paddlers to a place of natural beauty, while they enjoy a fun day on the water, experiencing the ocean in an intimate way that only an open board can provide.
There’s no wrong way to use your standup paddleboard. Some people prefer battling the waves on the open water, while others enjoy finding a sense of serenity and peace that comes from exploring nature in a whole new way. Some even use their paddleboards to practice yoga, adding a new twist to their mastery of focus and balance.
SURFit USA, a water sports company in Sarasota, offers SUP yoga classes to the public, which are friendly to those who have never paddled or held a pose before:
“In the Lido Mangrove Tunnel area there are all these little protected bays and mangrove tunnels, which are really beautiful to paddle through. (SUP yoga participants) do a short paddle through the tunnels, they anchor their boards in a really secluded little lagoon, and then the yoga instructor leads them through about an hour long class,” says Karla Gore, the co-founder of SURFit. “You’re lying in these different poses and there are birds flying by or fish jumping in the water near you, and it’s just really nice.”
In order to experience these joys for yourself, you have to find a board and go paddling. Both SUP Sarasota and SURFit offer rentals, instruction classes, and tours to keep any SUP hobbyist busy. If you’re an expert who is looking for a new way to paddleboard, Sarasota has ample opportunities. And if you’re looking to standup paddleboard for the first time, all you need to do is get a board and start exploring. You may find that life is simply more beautiful when you’re out on the water.
For more information about SUP Sarasota, or to schedule your own tour, visit their website at Sup-Sarasota.com.
For more information about SURFit USA’s yoga classes and other services, visit their website at SurFitUSA.com.