10 Tips For Your Next Paddle Board Trip On Vero Beach’s Inidan River Lagoon
- Wear sun protective clothing & reef safe sunscreen.
One of the easiest and most comfortable ways to stay safe in the sun is by wearing sun protective clothing. We carry a variety of SPF clothes in the Vero Tackle shop but they can easily be purchased online as well. Sunscreen is also a must have to bring along with you on your adventure, but be sure to purchase reef safe sunscreen! We also have sunscreen available in the tackle shop. My personal favorite however, is Goddess Garden Organics mineral sunscreen. It’s a little more expensive than standard sunscreen brands but paired with sun protective clothing goes a long way!
- Check the weather and especially the wind.
The biggest mistake paddle boarders make before they even touch the water is they forget to check the wind report! During our tours I always guide guests into the wind first so that the paddle back is super relaxing, but sometimes the wind can be unpredictable and change in the middle of the tour! The more you “study” the weather before heading out on your adventure the better you will get at making better calls on which direction to go.
- Bring a waterproof camera or phone bag.
The best part about the Indian River Lagoon is the wildlife we have here year round! We have dolphins, manatees, rays, birds, the list goes on! I love to take my GoPro, but find my best shots come from my Iphone X. Having said that it’s nerve wracking having tech out on the water, so be sure to bring a waterproof phone case! We have some older models available at the dock to take out, but recommend investing in one for yourself!
- Don’t wear anything you aren’t willing to lose (sunnies and hats)
I’ve seen it all, drivers license, sunglasses, hats, visors, jewelry… do NOT wear anything that you’d be bummed about losing.
- BRING WATER
Silly of me to mention this? Perhaps not, I can’t tell you how many plastic water bottles we burn through simply because we want our guests to be hydrated and they forget to bring their own. We encourage you to bring your own reusable water bottle, if you need a refill the Riverside Cafe staff would be happy to provide you with cold water!
- Ask your dock attendee for a brief lesson / book a guided tour.
A lot of people ask me if paddle boarding is hard and my response is always no, however I had a fantastic first experience and believe this contributes to my optimism! If it’s been a little while since you’ve been on the river, you’ve never paddled on the Indian River Lagoon, or you’ve never used a stand up paddle board grab yourself a lesson and a guide to ensure you have the best experience!
- Research the local wildlife.
This is a big one because it eliminates fear, and helps you know where to look for wildlife! The Indian River Lagoon is one of the most biodiverse estuaries in the northern hemisphere! You can check out the FWC’s blog post for more information! https://www.fws.gov/refuge/pelican_island/wildlife_and_habitat/indian_river_lagoon.html
- Go early, or late (especially during the hotter months).
In my opinion, Florida has two seasons. We have “Season” and “Off Season”. Season lasts from roughly October – May and has most tolerable weather for watersports aside from the few relatively cold weeks during winter. Off Season is basically summer or hurricane season. During the summer I highly recommend going out between sunrise and 11am, or 5:30pm and sunset. This will help you avoid the hottest part of the day, and help you avoid being sunburnt.
- Watch out for boaters!
The Lagoon is filled with paths winding through the many islands but sometimes it is hard to anticipate boaters, and it’s hard for them to see you. If you’re going out on the water by yourself consider going out during the week to avoid the larger crowds on the weekends.
- “No-See-Ums” suck. Get in before dark and be cautious of low winds!
Also known as sandflies these little buggers BITE and they ITCH. My best tips for avoiding them are to wear long clothing with as little skin showing as possible, as well as coming in before dark and not going out if there is no breeze. DEET repellents don’t have much effect, nor do other bug sprays. Neem Oil is rumored to work, but I have yet to try this out myself.
Those are 10 things I wish I had the chance to tell everyone interested in paddling on the Indian River Lagoon. If you find these tips helpful be sure to follow us on social media @paddlesbythesea & @verotackle where we are constantly updating our followers on all the top tips and suggestions.