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.
On Biscayne Bay, halfway between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, a wild wonderland awaits. Oleta River State Park is Florida's largest urban park, brimming with bike paths, native wildlife, and a river that practically beckons to boaters and manatees in disguise. Luckily, the Blue Moon Outdoor Center lends adventurers the right tools for exploring the park's untamed beauty. The store's bike, canoe, kayak, and board rentals offer several different ways to travel, and the nearby Blue Marlin Fish House?once featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives?helps visitors to recharge after a day of trekking.
Although he earned his fortunes as a businessman, Charles Deering's true passion was for art and culture. He filled his home with sculptures, drawings, paintings, and other works?some of which he created himself. After he passed away in 1927, The Deering Estate at Cutler has kept his spirit alive; his former home and its surrounding natural landscapes now operate as a cultural meeting place for the community?one that hosts art festivals, artist lectures, and The Living Artist Concert Series.
With its fleet of boats and other watercraft, WB Boat Rentals turns the sea?and the Miami Islands?into prime party territory. Kayak, pontoon, and jet ski rentals allow riders to chart their own path through the waves, whereas speedboats come with a professional captain who does the driving. If you want more of a floating-palace vibe, however, the yacht selection ranges from 38-foot boats to an 82-foot Sun Seeker yacht, all equipped with sleek furnishings and spacious interiors.
The company also takes passengers on tours past Miami's most scenic and lavish sites. The Miami River tour weaves through the city at night against a backdrop of glowing buildings, and the sightseeing tour of Star Island cruises by the exclusive island that Miami's rich and famous call home. There, grandiose mansions sit on perfectly manicured estates, and you may just catch a glimpse of a celebrity sports car sipping on a diesel-oil daiquiri.
For ten years, a mechanical-engineering career left Christien Petit with little time to enjoy his beloved Miami beachfront. So in 2008, he quit his desk job and established Blufin Beach Club, a short crab walk from the waves next to Miami Beach Resort and Spa. There he now spends his days outfitting beachcombers with Yamaha jet skis, tasteful blue beach umbrellas, and other rental gear, all while enjoying the warm sun and crashing waves. Blufin keeps food and drink on hand as well, letting customers sip cocktails as they recline on blue-cushioned lounge chairs or trade sandwich crusts with seagulls in exchange for a nap-ending wakeup call.
SUP SOBE's staff love the water; after all it was co-founded by an ex navy SEAL and water sport enthusiast Judith Rivero. Today SUP SOBE's paddle purveyors help out new stand-up paddleboarders looking to make the most of their watery expeditions. They may choose to paddle calmly around Biscayne Bay, where they can view the South Beach skyline from an uncommon angle. They can also race out to Flagler Island and back, or keep on going to the mainland. Fitness denizens can also utilize the boards during paddleboard yoga sessions led by Katie Love of Thousand Petal Lotus Inc. The SUP SOBE team drops off its boards to waiting riders, precluding the need to rent a miniature tugboat.