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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

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

Top 9 Things to do in Sebastian

The City of Sebastian boasts beautiful parks, riverfront district, close proximity to Atlantic beaches, a year round average temperature of 73.4 degrees, a police department, shops and restaurants, many churches, several City festivals each year, monthly arts and crafts shows, concerts in the park, a municipal golf course and airport, and a central location with easy access to I-95 and the Florida Turnpike.

Beachiest Kids Photo Contest


#1. Sebastian Inlet

Sebastian Inlet State Park is one of the best places to catch snook, redfish and Spanish mackerel on the Atlantic Coast. With more than 3 miles of beach and one of the most consistent surf breaks in Florida, Sebastian Inlet’s “First Peak” draws its share of wave riders. Monster Hole, which is actually a shoal a little farther out, is another internationally known surf spot. But there is more to do here than just surf and catch fish. Visitors can also canoe and kayak the Indian River Lagoon or stroll down the mile-long Hammock Trail. Bring a picnic lunch and set up at one of the water-front pavilions. Bring a tent and spend the night along State Road A1A, about 15 miles south of Melbourne Beach. More Details.


#2. Mel Fishers Treasure Museum

In December of 1992, world famous treasure hunter, Mel Fisher, opened a permanent museum in Sebastian, Florida. Mel started his full-time treasure hunting career in Vero Beach when he moved there with his wife Dolores and their family, from California in 1963. Mel spent the next 7 years successfully salvaging the 1715 Fleet, a fleet of sunken treasure-laden ships, which sank off the coastline which is why the surrounding area got the name, “Florida’s Treasure Coast”. He then went on to discover the main pile of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha in July of 1985. This is the largest underwater treasure find in history. Mel’s family continues the search for the remaining cargo of the Atocha today. More Details.


#3. Riverview Park

Riverview Park is along the shores of the Indian River.  The park hosts major events and concerts, such as the Annual Clam Bake Festival, Pelican Island Wildlife Festival, Sebastian Fine Arts and Music Event, the 4th of July Celebrations and the seasonal Music in the Park Concert Series hosted by the Sebastian Chamber of Commerce.  With its mix of open space and oak-covered walkways, Riverview Park offers panoramic views of the River and recreational opportunities for everyone. More Details.


#4. Pareidolia Brewing Co

We are Sebastian’s FIRST and ONLY brewpub. We’ve been voted best craft beer on the Treasure Coast in 2 separate online campaigns. We are kid friendly til 8:00 and friendly dogs are welcome in the beer garden. Hungry? We serve delicious pub fare as well, Cheers and beers! More Details. Read Review.


#5. Captain Hiram’s Sand Bar

What’s better than one bar? Three bars in one, naturally. Anchored in the sand, surrounded by coconut palms and buffeted by cool river breezes, our outdoor tiki-style Sandbar is Sebastian’s go-to destination for live music, cold beer, tropical cocktails and the chance to mingle in a trio of spirited spots, each with its own unique personality and drink menu. More Details.


#6. Skydive Sebastian

A world class skydiving center, catering to Skydivers from their first jump to the highest levels of proficiency in all skydiving disciplines. Check out our Skydiving Facilities. In a beautiful park-like setting, our facilities spread over 7 acres and include our main hanger, a spacious team building which includes complete bathroom and shower facilities and an on-site Restaurant and Tiki Hut for our post jumping Happy Hour activities. The Staff at Skydive Sebastian is committed to making everyone feel at home around our DZ whether they are a first-time tandem skydiver, a recent Accelerated Freefall graduate, one of our regular experienced skydivers or a traveling skydiver spending a vacation at our Drop Zone. More Details.


#7. Environmental Learning Center

ELC is a nature center ready for your discovery. 64-acres. On an island in the Indian River Lagoon, north of Vero Beach, FL. Discovery Station w/ aquariums and exhibits. Stroll boardwalks. Gift shop. Boating, canoeing, hikes. More Details.


#8. Shooting Range

Indian River County operates a complete public shooting range under a concession lease with the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Shooting Range is constructed on State owned land and developed by Indian River County through funds made available from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The range is structured to provide a safe, supervised facility for the patrons of the Treasure Coast. The facility is recreational in nature but also provides for the training of Law Enforcement Agencies in the area. More Details.


#9. Skate Park

The City of Sebastian Skate Facility is owned and operated by the City of Sebastian. The street course skating area is 7,700 sq. ft. Only skateboards, in-line skates, and quad skates, can be used at the facility. A signed, notarized or verified waiver must be on file. Proper identification is required. More Details.


#10. The Village Square

Situated in the heart of Sebastian, The Village Square gives you the opportunity to shop, dine and browse to your heart’s content in more than 10 stores. The Village boasts anchor tenants like Oceanviews Optical, The Den – Wine, Beer & Arts, The Cat’s Meow Cat Clinic and Eva Tiffany Jewelers, as well as delicious restaurants like A Taste of Asia and Village Sandwich Shop & Grill. More Details.