MORE THAN 100 SPECTACULAR CENTRAL FLORIDA AND GULF "NATURE COAST" TRIPS WITH EXPERIENCED, SAFETY-CONSCIOUS KAYAKERS WHO STOP TO ENJOY WILDLIFE AND TAKE PHOTOS!
WHERE WE PADDLE: The Gulf's "Nature Coast” from Steinhatchee to Tampa, and Central Florida waterways as far north as Gainesville and the Santa Fe, as far south as Tampa and as far east as the Orlando area
(Fun workout paddling upstream on the Withlacoochee while water levels were high and flowing fast! Photo by Bill K.)
ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF TO FIND OUT IF YOU QUALIFY AND WOULD ENJOY OUR EVENTS. If you answer "Yes," then "Join us!"
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: Can you swim to get back into your kayak or to shore after a flip?
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: Do you ALWAYS wear a vest-type Coast Guard-approved PFD tightened to fit snug? (No inflatables!)
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: Does your kayak have flotation fore and aft, and do both ends stay afloat after a flip? Do you check this at least yearly?
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: Can you do the T-Recovery to assist others to get back into their kayak after capsizing, and do you practice this?
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: If you flip and find yourself separated from the group, can you do self-recovery (get back into your kayak unassisted)? Do you practice this and do you carry the gear you need?
* SAFETY REQUIREMENT: Do you always carry a spare paddle so you can continue with the group when/if yours breaks or is out of reach?
* Is your kayak at least 12' long and designed for long distance paddling?
* Do you like paddles 6-12+ miles?
* Do you enjoy stopping to observe wildlife and other attractions along the way?
(Finding a place to get out and stretch is always a delight during Gulf Open Waters events! Photo by our new member Ron W.)
SAFETY FIRST! - We follow guidelines established by certified experts. These two links take you to detailed information:
"SAFETY ESSENTIALS FOR PADDLING WITH US:"
"A Kayaking Lesson (For All!)" With permission from Michael Devlin, President, Paradise Coast Paddlers Club:
(Break on the Santa Fe - Time to relax, eat, stretch and swim! Photo by Norm T.)
EVENTS: We have more than 100 different events to chose from, and the list is growing as we continue to explore new places. Our trips include well-known popular places, as well as others not found in paddling books. There are five types of paddles: inland rivers, Gulf open waters, sheltered Gulf areas, lake open waters and explorations.
HOW EVENTS ARE CHOSEN, OUR FOCUS BEING SAFETY, COMFORT & ENJOYMENT:
* For Gulf paddles, we go only when tides and winds are favorable and it’s not too hot.
* In hot, humid weather, we start early and do shady places and runs with springs for swimming.
* During cold weather, we start later and paddle open waters and places with manatees.
* In springtime, we paddle areas where birds are nesting.
* In autumn, we do the runs with the best fall colors.
CANCELLATION AND CHANGE OF VENUE: When weather forecasts indicate unsafe and/or uncomfortable conditions, events are cancelled or the venue changed to a place we can enjoy safely and comfortably.
(Gator demonstrating how to smile and relax on the Ocklawaha River, Photo by Rick T.)
PARTICIPANTS: Experienced, safety-conscious kayakers who live throughout Florida. Some join us only when we're paddling close to their home, others drive longer distances to experience new waterways and meet other like-minded paddlers. With the arrival of cool weather, we especially enjoy the migration of our wonderful snowbirds!
NO MEMBERSHIP DUES!
WE ARE NOT A "CLUB:" We're only about kayaking, getting together to enjoy this sport with like-minded paddlers. After our trips, those who wish to socialize more sometimes arrange among themselves to enjoy local restaurants.
NO OBLIGATIONS TO PADDLE: Members paddle only when and where they wish.
WHO SHOWS UP: A mix of different members sign up for each of our paddles.
(During this trip doing my favorite local paddle, Gum Slough, Dan C. was helping Brinda C. get over this dead fall without damaging her yak. In the background, you can see Rick W. clearing away branches, which allowed the rest of us to get through an easier, softer way! We're so fortunate to have such strong members we can count on when the going gets rough! Photo by Rick T.)
TO SEE WHAT MEMBERS HAVE TO SAY ABOUT US: Go to "Group reviews" on our "Home" page, far left near the top.
(One of our super "Nature Coast" tidal trips, this one from the Chassahowitzka River to Crawford Creek, here entering the gorgeous stretch on Crawford Creek, Photo by Cris)
DAYS WE PADDLE: Weather permitting, we paddle Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Trips are cancelled when forecasts are calling for rain, cold temperatures or high winds.
LENGTH OF OUR TRIPS: Usually 6-12+ miles, 4-5 hours
STOPS: We can usually get out for breaks after a couple of hours. We also slow down and/or stop in our kayaks to enjoy wildlife and take photos.
(The Silver River is loved by our talented photographers for its numerous wildlife photo opportunities, this one caught by Brinda C.)
TIDAL CONSIDERATIONS: Gulf coastal paddles are planned for days we can expect to have plenty of water, so we won't find ourselves stranded in shallow areas with oyster bars!
OPEN WATERS EVENTS: At least 16' sea kayak and open waters gear, as well as experience paddling in winds and waves are required. Therefore, we have a special group for kayakers prepared for open waters events in the Gulf and on lakes.
(Words could never express how very much I enjoy the company of the extraordinary yakers who choose to paddle with us! Photo by Ron W., Remark by Cris, the Organizer :>)
(Heading up the Homosassa River to see MANATEES!!!!!!!!! Photos by Cris & Rick T.)
NOTE TO BEGINNERS: We enjoy introducing new paddlers to the numerous wonders of our region! It doesn't take long to get ready when you start by learning with qualified instructors the skills needed to paddle with us. When you can answer "Yes" to the "QUESTIONS FOR YOURSELF," you'll be ready to join us! If you don't know where to start, there are three "Nature Coast" outfitters who offer lessons, kayaks and gear in "Sponsors" above.
(Anhinga showing off on Lake Rousseau for Arne D.)
If you need to upgrade your skills or equipment and don't know where to go for help, there are three "Nature Coast" outfitters among our "Sponsors" above.
For complete information, click "Pages" above to see our documents in "Table of Contents"