Gliding on Water
Olde Naples Surf Shop Teaches Stand-Up Paddleboarding
Men, women and children from 5 to 65 are enjoying the resurgent sport of paddleboarding, in which participants stand and balance on a board while propelling themselves with a paddle over the water’s surface. Whether it is in the gentle waters of the area’s bays, rivers and canals or the wider expanses of the Gulf of Mexico, Jeff Robinson, owner of the Olde Naples Surf Shop, is helping people discover this exhilarating way to glide upon water that originated in Hawaii during the early 20th century.
The idea of introducing paddleboarding to Naples occurred to Robinson three years ago while he was enjoying the sport during one of several trips to California and Hawaii. “First, I purchased my own paddleboard and brought it back,” says Robinson. When he saw there was an interest, he bought several to rent and eventually bought others to sell at his shop.
Today, he sells paddleboards and gives lessons when necessary. “This isn’t the kind of sport that requires a lot of lessons to enjoy,” advises Robinson, who offers a simple 15-minute tutorial with each rental. “Since people don’t have to deal with waves, there are only a few basics. Instead of looking down, for example, look in the direction of where you want to go and keep your butt tucked up and under.” He says paddleboarding is very easy to learn and provides great exercise for the entire body. “It is the proper stroking with the stand-up paddle, and working to remain balanced on the board, that exercises and tones the core muscles,” notes Robinson.
Paddleboards, unlike sleek, thin surfboards, are generally 12 feet long, 31-plus inches wide and about four to five inches thick. Lightweight, they only weigh about 30 pounds. More experienced and lighter paddlers can choose narrower boards, while novice paddlers should select wider, flatter boards that offer more stability. Stand-up paddles have an angle in the shaft for maximum efficiency and are most effective when they are roughly six to eight inches taller than the paddler.
Most of Robinson’s lightweight paddleboards, which are easy to tote around, are rented to women. “They like the workout, which gets them out of the gym,” he says, adding that personal trainers often rent boards for their clients. “If you come to the beach at sunset, you’ll see entire families out paddleboarding, because you don’t have to be in great shape or athletically inclined. It’s a fun sport for all ages,” he emphasizes.
Location: Olde Naples Surf Shop, 1311 Third St. South, Naples 34102. Call 239-262-1877 or visit OldeNaplesSurfShop.com.
LOCAL PADDLEBOARD RESOURCES
852 First Ave. S., Naples
Olde Naples Surf Shop
1311 Third St. S., Naples
True Blue Water Sports
10565 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
3015 S.W. Pine Island Rd., Ste. 108, Cape Coral
Holiday Water Sports
200 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach
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