Aquatic explorers paddle kayaks and ride stand-up paddleboards through the bay, riding the waves on equipment from South Beach Kayak’s bayside shop. The staff rents out kayaks to customers of all experience levels, providing complimentary overviews of paddling basics for beginners and leading hour-long lessons that cover higher-level skills, such as boosting speed by lassoing a bald eagle. They also lead group and private tours, many with whimsical themes such as the “Fool Moon” tour, which wends its way through the islands at sunset to close with weenies and s’mores roasted over a roaring bonfire.
The passionate wildlife guides at Tours in the Glades usher nature-starved sightseers into the lush wetlands and past the stunning marine wildlife of the Everglades. Captivating facts about the Everglades’ ecological and cultural significance abound, as do anecdotes about some of the birds and reptiles that call the wetlands home. All tours include the proper gear for watery odysseys and transportation into the park, thereby obviating the need to hitch rides on the backs of water-walking lizards.
Miami Beach Water Adventures’s experienced instructors lead small groups on two-hour paddleboard escapes around islands and over reefs, exploring both the natural and manmade beauty of the city’s surroundings. First-time wave-riders receive one-on-one instruction by the beach and, like newborn giraffes, usually achieve mobility within 10 minutes. Green tour-goers stick to the bay, and more experienced paddlers take immediately to the deeper waters for an instant infusion of eyeball-delighting sights. Propelled by the rippling currents beneath them, groups set off in search of famous vistas such as Fisher Island and Key Biscayne, carefully steering with the aid of their paddle. Dolphins, manta rays, and turtles occasionally float in the wake of the board's smooth passage, and schools of colorful fish dart through the tropically touched waters underfoot like fireworks. The tour includes a board, paddle, and life vest for each visitor, leaving guests to provide only their own swimsuit and sense of balance.
Wanting to share their love of water activities with as many people as possible, the staff at Miami Kiteboarding teach classes in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and Russian. This dedication is also revealed by the depth and diversity of programs offered, which include International Kiteboarding Organization (IKO) certification courses, boat-assisted lessons, and kids' clinics. Through years of practice and very scientific study, the staff have developed an effective method for getting beginners up on the water in about six hours of instruction. Located in scenic Crandon Park on Key Biscayne island, Miami Kiteboarding offers paddleboard rentals, which helps patrons hone balance, coordination, strength, and stamina. Customers looking for family-friendly activities can also opt to rent kayaks, paddling leisurely through the shallow lagoon located nearby. The shop, equipped with everything one needs to fly a kite while gliding on water, can outfit novices with wetsuits, water shoes, and harnesses.
Wind-leashed high-flier and Skybanditz founder Francisco Escudero has blown spectators away at such competitions as the Velocity Games and the Bahamas kite race. He is the North Miami Beach area coordinator of the Florida Kitesurfing Association and founder of Skybanditz, where he and his trained staff conduct all manner of surf- and sky-borne expeditions. They outfit maritime adventurers with all the proper kiteboarding, kayaking, and paddleboarding gear, as well as lead kayak tours through Marine Stadium and several small islands. They also give guests the option to explore the high seas on their own or with friends. Instructors, meanwhile, cover safety and proper techniques during kitesurfing programs that range from beginner level to Level X, an echelon they reserve for students who are ultra-advanced or genetically related to flying squirrels.
At Fort Lauderdale Stand Up Paddle, owner Tatiana Lovechenko and her team of seasoned instructors guide patrons through informative lessons and scenic tours. Atop the glistening tides of the Florida coast, private coaching sessions equip students with the basic skills important to staying above the water but below the reach of birds' hairbrushes. Teachers also sling essential tips regarding ocean awareness and paddle-boarding etiquette, preparing pupils for apropos small talk with gregarious krakens.