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Updated: 08/08/2014 08:17:18PM

Sarasota rethinks beach SUPs

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sup fun • nicole miers-pandolfi

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As a local paddleboarder, I have seen the sport start to really take off in our area. I’m not surprised. It’s a lot of fun, but guided experiences are always recommended for beginner paddlers. Standing up on the board is the easy part; learning how to steer the board is a little bit more difficult. Once you’re standing, your body is a sail, and the lighter you are the harder it is to navigate in the wind. Tips and tricks from a professional go a long way when learning how to paddle. Sharing knowledge of paddleboarding helps to keep the public safe. As with any other watersport, knowing the basics of paddleboarding ensures a great time for everyone enjoying the sport and the beach.

Paddleboarding is a mostly unregulated watersport. However, there are a few local and federal laws regarding boards. For example the U.S. Coast Guard has declared paddleboards vessels, which requires paddlers to have a life jacket on the board. Currently, Sarasota County bans the use of paddleboards in the swimming and surf areas of the public beaches. Lifeguards on duty are responsible for the enforcement of this rule.

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