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What'SUP Vero Beach

What’SUP Vero

Stand Up Paddleboarding in Vero Beach

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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.

Vero Beach Food Wine & Music is Cooking Up Excitement in Vero Beach

Vero Beach Food Wine & Music’s love affair with great chefs is clearly
demonstrated in the amazing line-up of world-renown chef celebrities that will be included
in multi-day events at Riverside Park and Costa d’Este Beach Resort &
Spa.

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Guests will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and mingle
with Graham Elliot, Shaun O’Neale, Alex Thomopoulos and Christi
Ferretti at the “Fire and Ice Cocktail Party” at Costa d’Este Beach
Resort & Spa. An array of tasty bites paired with specialty wines and
spirits will be held on Thursday, February 15, from 7:30 to 10 p.m.

Saturday, February 16, kicks off with the “Graham Elliot Effect”
demonstration and “Celebrity Chefs’ Dinner.” Elliot will be joined by
O’Neale, Thomopoulos and Ferretti to prepare an amazing interactive
food and wine adventure from 5:30 to 10 p.m. under the big top in
Riverside Park. Tickets are a great deal at only $225 per person for
this epicurean delight.

Also planned on the music side is a name artist concert featuring
internationally acclaimed Matteo Bocelli who is hailed as one of the
hottest voices to hit the music scene in decades. Bocelli offers a
concert with cutting-edge production, sound and design paired with a
classical voice that is reminiscent, yet even move impactful than his
father, Andrea Bocelli. Guests will receive gourmet bites and wine as
they enjoy the concert in a lounge seating atmosphere. Tickets for
this unique concert and “The Beat Goes On After Glow” party, to be
held at Grind and Grape from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. are limited, sold
separately and available at VBFWM.com.

While Music, Food and Wine is front and center at VBFWM, the charities
that will benefit are at the heart. VBFWM events benefit six wonderful
nonprofit organizations, The American Cancer Society, The Source for
the poor and homeless, Halo, a no-kill animal shelter, Indian River
Lagoon National Estuary Program, United Against Poverty and Hibiscus
children’s’ center. Producing the Vero Beach Food, Wine and Music
event is Fé Domenech and the team of The Event Firm International with
over 22 years of experience in producing events worldwide. Fé has
been recognized in the U.S. and internationally for impeccable
service, one of a kind design and productions. Among its accolades
are ISES Award Winner for Design, Emmy Award Winner for Production,
multiple recognitions for service and design in nationwide
publications. For event details visit www.VBFWM.com.


About the Chefs

You may know Graham Elliot from his myriad television appearances on
shows like Top Chef, Master Chef, and Master Chef Junior and much more
to his eponymous Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant, Graham is not
only an amazing chef but a true one of a kind. He will be hosting a
Culinary Demo as he shares his signature cooking style for the first
time in Vero Beach.

Graham Elliot: You may know Graham Elliot from his appearances on Top
Chef, Master Chef, and Master Chef Junior and much more to his
eponymous Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant. Join others for a
once-in-a-lifetime Graham Elliot Experience at Vero Beach Food, Wine &
Music, from February 15-18, at Vero’s Riverside Park and Costa d’Este
Beach Resort.


Alex Thomopoulos passion for food and laughter is infectious. Her
spontaneous, quirky and honest personality is something that makes her
a unique talent both in her writing and on camera. As an accomplished
chef, stand-up comedian and experienced on-camera host she exudes an
honest personality and passion for food and people that shines through
in everything she does. Serving as head chef at the Venice Beach
café/restaurant Great White, she presents a balanced menu filled with
indulgent cravings and healthy fare. In addition to hosting her own
cooking shows “Bites and Booze; Gluten Free” and “Gluten Free with
Alex T” on YouTube’s HUNGRY channel, she was a series regular on MTV’s
Disaster Date, and recently joined forces with Graham Elliot on
Bravo’s “Going off the Menu.”

Alex Thomopoulos, known for her great humor and cooking
abilities featured on YouTube’s HUNGRY channel, MTV’s Disaster Date
and most recently joining Graham Elliot on Bravo’s Going off the Menu,
is one of four celebrity chefs featured at Vero Beach Food, Wine &
Music from February 15-18, at Riverside Park and Costa d’Este Beach
Resort in Vero Beach.


Shaun O’Neale is a winner of Master Chef on FOX with Gordon Ramsay. In
addition to winning the title of “America’s Best Home Cook” in
September 2016, Shaun’s debut cookbook, My Modern American Table, was
released worldwide in May 2017. Since his win, Shaun has made several
appearances on the Hallmark Channel & FOX, performed at MLB games and
demoed/sampled/judged/hosted multiple culinary events all over the
world.

Shaun O’Neale, Master Chef winner and author of My Modern
American Table, will join a line-up of celebrity chefs featured during
multi-day events at Vero Beach Food, Wine & Music from February 15-18,
at Riverside Park and Costa d’Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach.


Christi Ferretti is a Vero Beach native and owner of Pine Valley
Market in Wilmington, NC. She is also the sister of Teresa Woodson,
executive director of American Cancer Society of Indian River County,
which is a recipient of a portion of proceeds from Vero Beach Food,
Wine and Music. Ferretti brings a fresh and flavorful dimension to the
event.

Vero Beach native and owner of the popular Pine Valley
Market in Wilmington, NC, Christi Ferretti will join forces with
celebrity chefs at Vero Beach Food, Wine & Music from February 15-18,
at Riverside Park and Costa d’Este Beach Resort in Vero Beach.

Returning to Vero Beach with Shells on my Toes

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Nine Fifteen Twenty Fifteen:  A Ryder truck a tad too big for my driving pleasure with my car hitched behind.  This big’ish rig and I headed West on Route 60, turned right on 95 and drove North until well past night.  Carrying myself and my things back to Virginia; back to the future; back to be a Mom to my youngest, back in the VA for her final two years of high school.  Bittersweet day.  Goodbye Vero.  Hello again to my second Virginia girl.  Those two years have been both the toughest and most rewarding two years of my life.

Both my sweet Virginia gals are embarking on exciting new school adventures.  My youngest moves to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Arts.  My first born is off to the Netherlands to attend a brand new University.  My day job of the last 21 years is over; Mom is fired.  Yay ME!

Naturally, I packed my car once again and aimed it due South on 95.  Next stop, Vero Beach! Hard to stay away from Paradise by the i95.

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One of those things in life.  When you cannot imagine being anywhere else, you just GO.

So, here are the TOP TEN reasons I came running back to Vero Beach:

1. Beach, beach, BEACH.  South Beach. Atlantis Beach. Humiston Beach. Conn Beach. Jaycee Park BeachVero Beach Hotel & Spa Beach.  Sharkbait’s Beach get-ups. Beach under the Rail at Waldo’s.  What the heck do I love so much about these beaches?  Well, SALT, salt spray, waves, water, fish, fisher-people, turtle nests, QiGong, sunrise, sunset, shells and the many gifts from the sea.  Then there’s dolphin, tarpon, mullet runs, sharks, spinner sharks, pelicans, terns.  Lifeguards, lifeguard towers, SUP boards, surf boards, skim boards, boogie boards, boardwalk boards.  By now, you should get the drift – I never get bored on or looking upon the BEACH.

 

2. ‘I Got the Music in Me’ and am sometimes a very happy Dancing Queen!

Music, Music, MUSIC. Vero has such an AHMAZING amount of wonderful music and musicians ALL YEAR LONG & in so many venues.  Concerts in the Loop. Howl at the Moon.  Vero Beach High School’s Marching Band & VBHS’s Orchestra & String students. Collins & Company; Bobby G/Bobby & The Blisters; Uproot Hootenanny.  Downtown Friday’s & Saturday Nights Under the Stars. Anyone playing, picking, (Bibble?!) strumming and/or drumming at the Driftwood.  Where’s Waldo’s???  New faces taking the risk to play in front of Lemon Tree & Cravings.  Saturday Farmer’s Market.  So, though I may not dance each and every time I am lucky enough to catch the live music, you never know (nor do I always) when the urge will strike.

 

3. Cravings for All the Delicious Food, Food, FOOD in Vero. Breakfast at Chelsea’s on Cardinal, at Kountry Kitchen, the Lemon Tree, CJ Cannon’s, Mulligan’s local’s special & oh that Green Goddess with protein at Cravings! My Cravings obsessions extend to their cookies, soups, ice cream, croissants and a most excellent WiFi connection. La Tabla for absolutely EVERYTHING on their menu and the photos and their staff and the most excellent WiFi free spot to eat or simply sip a coffee in Vero. Tres Hermanos tacos anytime, any day of the week; the Mole on certain Saturday’s is better than even Mole in Mexico. Citrus Grillhouse for lunch or dinner with a view. Dario for happy hour, bar food, late night, their staff, the family and all the great people you meet at their bar.

 

4. Surf & Dive shops.  Deep Six for ALL their stock of everything.  This place is MORE dangerous to my financial stability than Nordstrom’s used to be.  I love so much there:  bargain bikini baskets, hats, rash guards, SUP gal wear, knee socks, shoes, shoe sale rack, ukuleles, real sun-protection sun glasses, toys, toy VWs, reading glasses, lip protection, the staff……Then, over the Wabasso Bridge, just past the ELC, is the Wabasso Beach Shop where I can lose my whole paycheck on really cool SUP gal wear and Beach toys and surf boards and the 75% off room and their frequent buy some, get more free specials.

 

5. The 32963. (Once upon a time the 32960.) Riverside Cafe & the coi at night. Vero Tackle. Paddles by the Sea. Boats, Boats, BOATS. The Barber Bridge. The Christmas Parade. The Clydesdales. THE party of the year at Callie Corey’s house. Ocean Drive. Cardinal Drive. Flamevine Lane. Eagle Drive. Casey’s Place. Nino’s. Salt of Vero.

 

6. Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Hours.  Riverside Cafe. Darios. Citrus Grill. Heaton’s Reef. Filthy’s. Vero Bowl Lanes & Lounge. Kelly’s.  If you want to get happy farther afield, drive (or use Uber or a designated driver) and don’t miss Little Jim’s & the Tiki Bar in Ft. Pierce.  In Sebastian, Salty’s, which happens to be next to my fave place to see and buy fish AND eat Lionfish tacos – Crab E Bills.  Talk about a phenomenal place to buy the freshest fish anywhere & learn about the Sebastian water-front throughout its history.  If you are sweet and nice and lucky, Crab E Bill himself may share a fish tale or two.

7. The 32960. Yes, some of us don’t really like to leave ‘the island’ BUT you are missing so very much if you don’t venture to the west. 14th Avenue for a start. 14th Avenue for a middle and 14th Avenue for an ending as well.  Vero has a GREAT old town, downtown that is getting better ALL THE TIME. Some of my faves: Seahorse Lane Boutique, Tea & Chi, Fish Shack, Southern Social, Tiger Lily Art Studios and Gallery. How about some Pickleball on the courts at Pocahontas Park?

 

8. Pineapples & Citrus & Cattle. Vero’s roots are agriculture.  The Spanish brought their citrus trees and their cattle and their small horses that are adept in our scrub lands and woods.  The rest, as they say, is history.  Pineapples in Vero?  Yes, indeed. There is quite a history behind pineapple groves here in Indian River County.  Today, the MOST delicious pineapple you may ever taste is grown here, off Route 1, in Wabasso. Nature Farms.

 

9. The Indian River Lagoon and the A1A.  The A1A needs no further explanation.  Jimmy Buffett sings about it often. Our Lagoon is the second largest estuary in the USofA (the Chesapeake gets top billing) and one of the most biodiverse environments in the world. Truth.  If you want to learn more, DO visit the Environmental Learning Center AND DO take their Eco Cruise, Captained by a well known Mariner, Scott Corey.  Every year there is a GREAT charitable tournament, Lines in the Lagoon, organized by Vero youth who have grown up playing on and around the Lagoon.  Ever heard of a Spoil Island or Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, established in 1903?

 

10. SUP‘ing Year Round.  Yup, I am an addicted SUP gal and is Vero ever the PARADISE for this sport called Stand Up Paddleboarding.  Save your pennies though ’cause it takes more than a few clam shells to get your own SUP gear.  But DO visit Dragonfly Boat Works and SeaSupGo to check out all there is to offer and OF COURSE to buy all you need to SUP.

I have been SUP’ing on the Lagoon; in the ocean; circled the flagpole marking the wreck of the Breconshire.  Commissioned in Scotland in 1892, the ship sunk in 1894 in 12 feet of water, on a moonless night in Vero, when the ship’s mates thought they were 3 miles offshore. The Breconshire had been on a voyage out of New York Harbor enroute to Tampa to pick up an undisclosed cargo.  Now you know why the flagpole is out there, front and center, on one of Vero’s most visited beach.

I could really go on forever and a day about the Paradise we call Vero Beach but I shall end this love fest by saying:  it is the Pirates and the People that I meet in Vero, whether they are born here or come here, that keeps me hooked.

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