For years, New Smyrna residents have paddled throughout the marshy backwaters of the Indian River lagoon, finding solace among the area's gentle tides, unclouded skies, and abundance of marine life. United by a respect for their natural surroundings and a knack for paddleboarding, a local family joined forces to form the award-winning New Smyrna Stand Up. With dolphins and manatees swimming below and ospreys sailing above, the experienced guides lead tours down the river, journeying out into the ocean when weather permits. In the summer months, the center conducts children's camps, in which youngsters learn paddleboarding techniques while exploring the area's ecosystem. They study local wildlife and marine creatures and learn to identify the origins of passing inner-tubers by the shape of their heads. In addition to tours and camps, the staff offers paddleboard rentals and standup-paddleboard surfing lessons.
Paradise Power Sports sailing-savvy team deploys patrons onto New Smyrna Beach's waterways atop boat and jet-ski rentals. Aquatic adventurers can board 18-foot bay scouts, 14-foot flat boats, and 16-foot speed boats, or Yamaha and Sea-Doo jet skis, and skim through the causeways past green wetlands and out onto the Atlantic. Vessels such as the 25-foot Sea Fox—equipped with fish-finder technology and GPS—are ideal for fishing excursions, while the 18-foot Sweetwater Pontoon and 24-foot Fisher Pontoon provide slower-paced aquatic recreation. Patrons can embark on trips solo or under the guidance of experienced captains, many of who are fluent in tuna.
Seven generations ago, Doug Hicks's ancestors settled near the waters of New Smyrna Beach. Today, Hicks captains his own boat throughout his family's splashing grounds, leading fishing trips through Mosquito Lagoon, Tomoka Basin, and other native waters. With nearly 20 years of experience under his life preserver, Captain Hicks helps his passengers sniff out schools of tarpon, redfish, snook, and trout disguised as ordinary sea bass. The captain also helms chartered outings for activities ranging from tubing and wakeboarding to bar-hopping along the shore.