Splashing in the sea spray and soaking up the rays! One of the prime reasons folks head to the sandy beaches of our Gulf Coast is to partake of the many ways to play in the warm waters off shore. Frequently you can see boarders of every type riding the waves, defying gravity in seemingly impossible ways. For a different view of our watery playground, there are many diving charters that head out into the Gulf allowing you to swim along with dolphins, huge goliath grouper and yes, even sharks! Any of these outings allow you to get a days worth of vitamin C and also exercise while having a fabulous time creating memories.
While stand up paddle boarding has been around for thousands of years, the surfing tradition comes mainly from Polynesian ancestry and modern does as well. Benefits of SUP include improving balance (obviously!), reducing stress, full body work out, improving endurance and good cardio....all while connecting with nature! For a gentler paddle board experience you can easily head to nearby Tampa Bay.
Windsurfing has been around since the late 1940's when a young American created a floating platform that looked more like a catamaran than a windsurfing board, then he mounted a sail. Many changes in design were made along the way and it was accepted as an Olympic sport in 1984. There are even different disciplines in windsurfing: Formula Windsurfing, Slalom, Freestyle and Performance. You don't have to be an Olympian to enjoy it today, just head out to one of the purveyors of a watery, windy good time!
Kiteboarding involves amazing speed, dizzying combinations of tricks, insanely high jumps or sometimes the pure enjoyment of riding the waves like surfers. Even those who have never attempted it are drawn to observe the sheer pleasure of challenging gravity...and often winning! The Chinese are credited with using kites for propulsion from long ago but today's kiteboarding came into it's own in the 1980's. Changes were made in design and now many people enjoy the exhileration of this fascinating sport. Test your own dexterity in the salty water today!
This sport has it's origins in life saving as lifeguards in the 1920's would skim around on wood to observe their charges. Interestingly, the skimboard used by average user is often more advanced in technology than that of the average surfer. Skimboads are smaller than surfboards and have no fins. Skimming can involve many tricks, surface and air maneuvers with names like 'Wraps', 'Big Spins' and '180's'. Another aspect involves tricks similiar to that of skateboarding ('Ollies' and 'Shove Its').