When the warm season arrives, the team at Epic Boardsports strives to get locals and visitors out and enjoying nearby tropical waterways such as Banana River lagoon. For the uninitiated as well as the experienced, knowledgeable guides lead stand-up paddleboard tours around the lagoon to share local lore and point out manatees, seabirds, and dolphins playing Jenga in their natural habitat. The team also gives paddleboard lessons at Banana River or on the ocean, and rents and sells top-flight Hawaiian Pro Designs surfboards for aquatic adventurers looking to go paddle-less. Kiteboards by brands such as the versatile Jimmy Lewis, designed to enhance every style of boarding, give wave athletes one more way to soar over the sea. Fostering a year-round passion for extreme board sports, the team can send skiers down powder-covered mountainsides in style with boards, boots, and accessories.
Beach Bound & Down maintains a fleet of sand-friendly cruisers that visitors can pedal along Cocoa Beach's scenic waterfront sights and sun-splashed beaches. The big bikes feature mounted GoPro HD cameras, which capture jaunts on video for easy uploading to Facebook or a highly specific dating website. Riders can snag a fat tire cruiser two blocks south of Ron Jons on Hwy A1A. While out on the paths, explorers take in the lively aromas of saltwater air while basking in the warm pulse of sun on their skin.
Licensed massage therapist Chuck Thissen's playbook of massage techniques is stacked high. There are Swedish and deep-tissue massages—the traditional methods for treating pain and stress—and then there are more exotic forms. Acupressure focuses on the same meridian points as acupuncture but uses pressure instead of needles, and neuromuscular therapy relieves pain by balancing the musculoskeletal and nervous systems the way a circus performer balances his diet between peanuts and popcorn.
Joao Amaral is so tough, he teaches cops how to fight. The head coach at the Brazilian Top Team (BTT) studios in both Boca Raton and Boston, Amaral boasts a resumé that includes training law-enforcement departments and winning in tournaments such as the Brazilian national championships. At the Boca Raton facility, Joao and assistant coach Matt Janzer lead group and private classes that include both gi and no-gi Brazilian jiu-jitsu; the former is a grappling technique that aims to give smaller people the leverage to take down a larger assailant, and the latter is more like traditional wrestling. BTT's muay thai classes, featuring a style of boxing often used in cross-training with jiu-jitsu instruction, can be adapted for those interested in competitive fighting or for those simply looking to get fit or learn self-defense.
Change is Catrell Cooney's specialty. Whether leading upbeat Zumba fitness classes or sharing recipes for healthy vegetarian meals, Catrell helps others make simple lifestyle changes that can result in significant improvements to their overall wellness. Catrell shares the skills that she's mastered in her work as a certified health coach and personal trainer, a weight-loss specialist, a master vegan, and a licensed Zumba instructor through the website and business she operates with her husband.