Author Archives: Neal Roe

About Neal Roe

Born Floridian from creeks of the St Johns River. Dad taught me to body surf. Long time surfer, first short board was an 8' Hansen "The Master". Wife and children for Father's Day years ago got me into SUP, dreams came true when we all paddled the Jupiter Inlet together. We have found the contemplative sticks.

Vero Beach Paddle Board Rentals

Vero Beach Paddle Board Rentals

Stand Up Paddleboarding is a journey of realizations, which is exactly what you will experience should you pursue a regular practice of SUP. Like with any practice you are best served to approach it without judgment, with patience, and with grace.

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

To start, rent your way through this stage of the journey; you’ll meet people along the way that like you, are discovering the beauty of our paradise. They love the time spent on the water, the efforts it takes to get their clients prepared, and keeping everyone safe. And they love sharing what they know all along the experience. You can build long-lasting relationships with many of these people and their businesses.

Renting equipment in Vero Beach is easy. It is best to think about what you want to experience and be a part of. The people are all in business and will have you sign waivers with agreements of responsibilities. You may be experienced with these forms but review them to be sure you understand where everyone stands.

Stand Up Paddling with Children

The waters sing to us a siren’s song, calling us if only for a chance sighting of its vastness. We sense our own smallness in its grandeur. And with a calling comes a sense of risk, of consequence knowing full well that we are not borne on its tides but on its shores. Start your SUP journey on the flat water of the Indian River.

Think of what you want to see. In the Indian River, location is going to determine the variety of wildlife, the flora and fauna, and the views. You might think it is all the same but the differences are real and in the subtleties lay much of the deeper adventures you will have. Each of the rental companies below will have strengths based on their knowledge, locations they serve, and the equipment they rent.

What'SUP Vero Beach

If you like this article you may also like the “What’SUP Vero” article.

For Indian River SUP experiences there are several outfitters and rental companies that will be able to help you. Go to their websites and dig in to understand the value that each will bring to the experience. Some will have all-inclusive rates, some ala carte, and some will have delivery fees. Review the websites below and ask questions when you call to reserve.

Think about logistics. What do you have for transporting the equipment? Will they deliver and retrieve equipment? Do you want a tour? What provisions will you need…besides water? Always take water with you. Think too about weather and tides, ask how you may be impacted and for the safest directions to take for the time you are paddling. Will you need bug spray? You will always need sunscreen and protective clothing. It is highly recommended that you wear water shoes in the Indian River or any inland body of water. My recommendation is to never paddle alone. Get a paddle buddy, get a crew, or ask to be included in a group. Take safety into account at all costs.

Oceanfront hotels typically have a contractor renting equipment and by this point, most are offering SUP rentals. Disney Vero Beach Resort is, in fact, a Disney experience. Vero Beach & Spa and the Holiday Inn both use Paddles By the Sea. Costa d’Este uses Boucher Brothers. At the Historic Driftwood Inn use Shark Bait Beach Rentals. Each has a variety of equipment so please check with the Concierge or Front Desk to find out what they offer and how they manage the equipment. Go to each of their websites to better understand where you’ll be paddling and what sites you might encounter. In some cases, you may want to rent from a company other than the one at your hotel. If you are in Central Vero Beach, they may be closer to the Breconshire Wreck for example or you may prefer the equipment they are renting.

Visit more than one rental company to get a handle on what their equipment is like. Boards and paddles used for rentals are often more durable and thus made from different materials. They will all be the wider boards for beginners but some of the distinctions make for a different user experience. Make your experience a good one by understanding what and how you will be using the equipment. Paddling for two or more hours in the ocean or the Indian River will tire you out on a calm day. If you encounter a higher wind or a stronger current, you’ll be tired faster. If at all possible carry bottled water or a full Nalgene bottle with you or hydration.

Another thing about ocean paddling, some of the rental vendors named here may not allow their boards in the ocean. They will tell you right away but do ask up front. Ocean paddling needs to be addressed with a very high respect and a sense of humility. There are similar elements with other bodies of water but the ocean is the least forgiving. The sun and wind are more intense for your skin and eyes. Your balance is going to be tested even in calm seas.

Simply stated be aware of your surroundings in all you do in and on the water. Have fun.

Just keep paddling.

A list of the links used in the article is below…

Costa d’Este Beach Resort & Spa

Paddles By The Sea


Adventure Kayaking

Orchid Island Bikes and Kayaks

Paddles By The Sea

Sea SUP Go

Shark Bait Beach Gear

What'SUP Vero Beach

What’SUP Vero

Stand Up Paddleboarding in Vero Beach

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest

Have you noticed all the long surfboards people are carrying about in Vero Beach? To the uninitiated, it might seem that Vero is a haven for Long Boarders or an old surfers haven. There are positively “Two Girls for Every Boy” in this town, actually more like four. Just ask any young woman you know. That’s a whole ‘nother story.

What we are witnessing is the infancy of a sport known as Stand Up Paddleboarding, SUP for short. What is happening is that people are letting go of their fears and giving it a go. And when fears are banished the free go far.

Vero Beach is blessed to be at the center of two incredible assets, the Fort Pierce Inlet and the Sebastian Inlet. If you’ve read “A Land Remembered” you will note that the Fort Pierce Inlet played a major role in Florida’s Citrus history as the New England market’s access to our crops. Sebastian Inlet has a much rowdier and perhaps tawdry history wrapped up in Local, State and then Federal politics making for a good many tales of epic proportion. Let’s explore that sometime.

What these inlets do is allow a continual resurgence of open ocean currents to enter and retreat from the Indian River providing the life for of the “lagoon”, an estuary of international impact. They also provide a magnet for the marine life in the river and a synergy of life along the coastline of the Atlantic. The unique reefs offshore of Indian River County combine with this flow of life from the Gulf Stream to produce an environment for a renewal of species up and down the food chain including our own.

This is the backdrop of the incoming tide of the SUP’ers here in Vero. Many locals have been involved for a long time. In fact, we are home to the manufacturer of a highly specialized line of paddleboards. Mark Castlow and company at Dragonfly Boatworks began making versions of paddleboards that incorporates proprietary designs from their successful flats boats and more. Because of their expertise in the flats, their paddleboard has caught on and been shipped worldwide with Dubai as one of the more interesting drops. And they have had a very satisfied client in Jimmy Buffet who loves to use his for Bone Fish excursions.

Breconshire Shipwreck SUP

So where is everyone paddling? The answers are as varied as the paddlers themselves. It will depend upon their interests, what they want to see and experience. For our oceanfront visitors and hotels guests at Disney, Vero Beach Hotel & Spa, Holiday Inn, Coste d’Este, and Waldo’s the Breconshire Wreck is the first stop. They will easily see the exhaust pipe, the hull’s outline and a bit of a reef on calm, clear days. From there, it is best to head south to the Rio Mar reefs for the best views of sea life and reef formations.

See Vero Vine’s Top 9 Staycays

What is hugely important for this and every paddle is safety. Some if not all of the outfitters will include a leash in the rental and this is key. When you are in the ocean or river you will be subject to wind and currents. You do not want to get separated from your board or your paddle. The second critical piece of equipment would be a personal flotation device or PFD. It seems ridiculous since you may be leashed to your board but it is key especially for the novice paddler. The U.S. Coast Guard requires you to have one on the board at least if you will be outside of the surf zone. Yes, there is an entire world of Surfing SUP capabilities, again for another story. Watch out for Murphy’s Law when it comes to water sports, have safety top of mind.

For the Indian River start with Round Island’s Riverside Park, a crowd favorite. There is a SUP/ Kayak drop off circle and a safe sandy beach to launch from. Again, have your safety equipment on your board and use a leash every time. It is actually more important in the river because you can easily become complacent about safety as you enter a state of calm along the way. You will think that you have found paradise; the quiet and easygoing vibe will be all the more heightened because you are literally floating away.

After a while try your skills at other launch sites in the area. The obvious ones are found in other parks in the city and County. MacWilliam Park Boat Ramp is a terrific place to launch with access to the City Marina and islands north of the launch site. The Vero Beach Rowing Club has installed a great floating dock that is also available for launching but watch yourself when standing up too close to the dock. You may also want to launch from Riverside Park and again watch yourself standing up only after you have pushed away from the shore or ramp. The south end includes Memorial Island and much more.

This is a snippet of the adventures you can have with a SUP adventure on the water here in Vero Beach. As with any water activity know your craft, skills and safety equipment. To that add local shore and water knowledge such as bottoms and tides. Always, always, and ALWAYS… Feet First if you need to enter any body of water. Some people will wear waterproof shoes or booties; there will be obstacles in the cushy sand below. Don’t get lulled into feeling too safe. My hope is that everyone who puts off from shore will return safely. And never paddle alone. Next time let’s see where to rent SUP equipment and what they offer for their guests.

Paddle on.

Paddles by the Sea

Paddles by the Sea

If you are looking for tours or rentals please visit Paddles by the Sea. They have two locations one beachside at the Holiday Inn and riverside at Riverside Cafe.

Read Our Review of Riverside Cafe

Click here for more food reviews.

Vero Beach Paddle Board RentalsVero Beach has even more options for renting paddle boards. Click photo to read more.