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The Aquatic Life in the Florida Panhandle Part 1

Updated on August 15, 2012

The Aquatic Life of the Florida Panhandle

There is plenty of living going on in our corner of the universe. From snorkeling, to boating, swimming, fishing, water parks, scuba diving, kite boarding, surfing, paddleboards, wake boards, and anything else you can think of, we have it. And we have it in abundance. If you love the water and being on and in it, then Destin real estate, and the Florida panhandle is the place to be. And with miles of pristine beach, millions of square miles of water, and some of the easiest and quickest access to the 100 Fathom Curve for deep water, Destin, FL, and the surrounding areas is where watersport heaven exists.

Kiteboarding

Destin, Fl. Is home to some of the best kiteboarding and paddleboading in Florida, and offers some great swells for surfers as well. Locals and those visiting and traveling over Oakaloosa Island are greeted almost every day and every weekend, weather depending, with a myriad of colors as kiteboarders take to the sound, and on good, windy days, even the gulf. Most days, you will see at least 3 or 4 kite boarders out, although on weekends groups of 20+ on nice days aren't uncommon. Paddlebaorders are found paddling around more of the inland parts, such as the bayous and local rivers were the water isn't as rough. Surfers can take full advantage of the ocean, and on good days when the waves are right, you can expect to be joined by as many locals on the water that can get away from work.

Paddleboarding/Surfing

Paddleboards is a global sport that provides users with a great core workout, as well as tons of fun and excitement. With plenty of board choices just like surfing for every kind of condition or activity you would like to engage in, paddleboarding can be a fun, and easy way to work out and not even know it. Stand-Up Paddle Boarding began back in the early 1930’s, with Thomas Blake being credited as the pioneer of the sport. Beginning in 1926, while restoring historic Hawaiian surfboards for a museum, he built a replica of a previously ignored olo board ridden by ancient Hawaiian kings. He then drilled holes in it to lighten it, and created the first hollow board, making it the first modern paddleboard. 2 years later, he used the board to win the first ever Mainland surf contest, and then returned to Hawaii to break every paddleboard record. These designs still are used today in paddleboard production; however the weight has been significantly reduced. Originally weighing in at around 120 lbs., and after Blake drilled holes and lightened his board, it still weighed in at 60 lbs. Blake promoted his boards for use as lifesaving devices for lifeguards. During the next 60 or so years, paddle boards were not really heard of outside of Hawaii, until the early 80’s, when a LA lifeguard on a paddleboard won the Waterman Race, inspiring a surf journalist to begin production of a high quality stock paddleboard. Its design has won many races, and remains one of the more popular choices. Shortly after that, Joe Bark and Mike Eaton began producing boards, and quickly became some of the largest US paddleboard makers, making an estimated 1-200 boards a year.

Paddleboarding can be done on both paddleboards and surfboards. Typically, paddleboards are made of fiberglass, epoxy, and/or carbon fiber and modern paddleboards are made of polyurethane foam, complete with wooden stringers, fiberglass cloth, and a polyester resin, like typical surfboards. The main difference between a paddleboard and a surfboard is length, with paddleboards ranging from 8-14 feet. Paddleboards are paddled, and these are usually made of wood, epoxy, fiberglass, carbon fiber, or a combination of the aforementioned. Paddleboards offer surfers the versatility of a new sport that they can participate in when the waves aren’t so good for surfing. It also offers the ability to catch more waves in a set, as well as delivering a better view (standing as opposed to laying or sitting). Paddleboards are generally more stable (comes with its longer length, as well as its wider profile) than surfboards, making them great for all skill levels. Different water conditions require different boards, as well as paddles. When choosing a paddle board for you, keep in mind a few things, such as what kind of riding will you be doing? Where will you be riding? Will you be fishing? Racing? Catching waves? Knowing all of these can help you determine the type, size, and style of board that is best for the use you want. Also, paddles are custom designed to help the paddler get the most from each scenario, and can be custom cut to match the persons height.

Canoeing, Rafting, Swimming, Camping

Canoeing and rafting the local rivers, bays, and bayou's are always a popular and fun experience here in the Panhandle, as nature and beauty hasn't changed since this land was first discovered. One of the purest sand bottom rivers in the nation, Blackwater River, is majorly popular for the canoe/rafting crowd, as well as swimmers, campers, and those interested in fishing. Surrounded by Blackwater River State Forrest, this protected region around the Blackwater River is a local gem. Gaining its status of a Registered State Natural Feature in 1980, it has been providing hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with unspoiled nature views. Composed of 590 acres, and 30 campsites, plenty of trails to hike and bike, picnic areas with grills and pavilions for rent, Blackwater State Park is a paradise in and of itself right here in the Florida Panhandle.

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  • silvershark profile image
    Author

    Kenneth Moody 5 years ago from Destin, Florida

    Ty for your Comment

  • miss_jkim profile image

    miss_jkim 5 years ago

    Nice Hub well put together and informative. I like the pictures you chose as well.

    Voted up and interesting.