It was becoming increasingly obvious to me that my trips to Naples, Florida were becoming increasingly repetitive. Since my family has a place there, I tend to do the same things every time I go – I eat and drink at my favourite watering holes, spend afternoons languishing in the pool loungers (Landshark Lager in the cupholder), and beachwalking every morning.
Don’t get me wrong – I love it.
Naples is one of my favourite places because of all of the above (and so much more).
That being said, I began to grow curious of what else Naples had to offer, should I wish to exercise my growing adventurous spirit and all. I decided that on my last visit, I’d set my sights on trying stand-up paddleboarding.
There are a few places in and around Naples that rent stand-up paddleboards, but I went into the Olde Naples Surf Shop, down on 3rd Street South, in the middle of old Naples, and booked a rental. For $15 / hour I got the board, paddle, and life jacket. With a two-hour minimum rental, and a delivery fee of $10, my two-hour experience cost me only $40. Not too shabby.
(There are other rental options for longer time periods, in case you fancy spending the whole day on the beach, meandering around).
The Olde Naples Surf Shop, owned and operated by a really nice family, delivered the board to my chosen beach access point, gave me a few tips, and away I went!
After a bit of a wobbly start, I managed to get the hang of it. The board I had was a typical beginner’s paddleboard – much heavier and bigger than a surfboard – and was great for trolling around the Naples beach.
It took a while to get used to how strong the current was, and how quickly you can end up as far out as the seagulls (um, and sharks?). About fifteen minutes into it, though, I was kinda bored, but that’s probably because a) I have a short attention span, and b) I was really only paddling two blocks worth of distance before turning around and going back again, so my mum could keep an eye on me.
(I should note that she actually didn’t really fulfill her part of the agreement. Instead of watching me like a hawk-mummy, she was wrapped up in her Kindle. She also didn’t take any photos of me. I still love her, though.)
After an abysmal dismount, my first attempt at stand-up paddling was over, and I was back on the beach for a brief intermission.
Two more attempts and not only had I mastered the dismount, but I could turn around using two different methods (thank you REI instructional video), and had given my entire body a ridiculous workout.
So, it is possible to find ‘adventure’ in Naples. If you get the chance, and feel so inclined, grab a friend (it’s probably more fun than solo) and head down to the Old Naples Surf Shop to rent a stand-up paddleboard.