Stand up paddleboarding, a cross between kayaking and surfing, is one of the fastest growing watersports. It’s easy and fun to learn and can be done wherever there’s a body of water, from bays and coves to ponds, lakes and rivers. Florida might just be the perfect place to paddleboard with beautiful waterways.

Paddleboarding also provides lots of opportunities to see wildlife. Because paddleboarders stand higher above the water, it’s easier to see further across the surface and deeper into the water. Time on a paddleboard is a window into an amazing variety of birds, fish, turtles and even manatees.

Paddleboarding is not only fun, almost everyone can do it by learning a few new skills and following these safety tips:

  1. Make sure you know how to swim.
  2. Wear a lifejacket and carry a whistle.
  3. Know how to self-rescue if you fall off or your board flips.
  4. Know under what conditions you should be connected to your board by wearing a leash.
  5. Protect your feet by wearing water shoes.
  6. File a float plan so friends and family know where you’re going and when you’re expected to return.
  7. Understand the hazards of different conditions such as wind, tidal ranges, whitewater, surf, currents and terrain.
  8. Know local regulations and navigation rules.
  9. Match your abilities to the venue you’re paddling.
  10. Paddle defensively – don’t’ go where you aren’t supposed to and take measures to avoid other swimmers, paddlers and boaters.