Business of the Month – Paddling Paradise Offers Numerous Ways to Enjoy Palm Bay’s Beautiful Waters and Nature
Opened in 2018 and located on U.S. 1 at Turkey Creek in Palm Bay is Paddling Paradise, where you can rent paddleboards and kayaks and book paddleboard, kayak and Hobie Mirage Pedal tours. Equipment rentals include the paddleboard or kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device, but be sure to bring your own protective clothing and plenty of water. Paddling Paradise also has a store with clothing and paddleboarding accessories for sale, and they offer paddleboard and kayak storage. Events offered include sunrise paddles, eco tours, private lessons, SUP yoga, paint & paddle parties, birthday parties, and group team building. Whether you want a relaxing time floating across the water of Turkey Creek hoping to catch a glimpse of a dolphin or manatee, or if you’re looking for access to competitive water-based sporting events or anything in between, Paddling Paradise has something to offer you. Palm Bay Live spoke to the operator of Paddling Paradise, Dan Smith, to learn more about the business.
Tell me about your background and how you became so passionate about paddle boarding and water activities?
“I grew up in Melbourne, and traveled around the world, I surfed competitively growing up, and about 15 years ago I got into paddleboarding, and it’s just been amazing. It’s a way to get out on the water and enjoy, and I can surf on a paddleboard or just paddle flat water or I can race on it. And paddleboarding is really for everyone, brand new people can go out with just minimal training.”
Today’s kayaks have gone really high tech, haven’t they? They are made with high performance composite materials and feature advanced designs. Tell us about that.
“For sure! We are a Hobie dealer and we have boats that have the Hobie Mirage Drive pedal drive system which can be pedal paddled or sailed, and we both rent and sell these amazing watercraft. Purchase prices range from $1,500 to $8,000. They’re really fun!”
Paddling Paradise is a jumping off place for many activities such as Women on Water, the Turkey Creek Sanctuary Kayak Tour, and you’re active in other sporting events and competitions, right?
“Yes, we have something for everyone. And this past July we hosted the Amature Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympics first ever paddleboard event, and just recently paddleboarding was added as an official AAU event along with track & field, tennis and volleyball. And through our Paddle Sports League we will be promoting paddleboard events with clubs throughout Florida.”
What has it been like to operate through a pandemic?
“We were lucky and remained open the whole time, paddleboarding is an outdoor activity in beautiful Florida, and people were definitely interested in getting outside during the pandemic in a safe and socially-distanced way. Outdoor activities like bicycling and kayaking have been growing in popularity recently, so we were definitely luckier than some of the other businesses.”
On your Facebook page, you have pictures of paddleboarders and kayakers seeing dolphins and manatees up close. Does that happen often?
“Absolutely, that’s an everyday occurrence, and it’s amazing the diversity of the things that we do see. Dolphins, manatees, birds, all sorts of fish, and turtles too. And what you see varies depending on where in Turkey Creek you are. It really is amazing.”
What are your future plans for Paddling Paradise?
“We are definitely looking to get more youth into the sport. The main demographic for paddleboarding is women aged 35 to 55, but now that we are part of AAU and their 700,000 members, many of whom are youth athletes who will now have access to our paddleboarding events. And the moms are already paddleboarding, so this is a way for the moms to include the kids in their hobby. During the AAU event, we had three generations of women from the same family compete in the same race, and they each finished the race and won an award. So our goal is to grow the sport with youth and get the word out that anybody can enjoy paddleboarding. And once the kids paddleboard they love it!
Another important part of our future is that the City of Palm Bay is looking to further develop the property where our business is located, perhaps adding a restaurant and other things that will drive more traffic here. Paddling Paradise will continue to be here on the same property and looking to get more people out on the water to enjoy themselves!”
4220 Dixie Hwy – Pal
m Bay, FL 32905
Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
Saturday -Sunday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm