General FAQ

Why should I rent a stand up paddleboard or kayak from you?

At PADDLE! the Florida Keys, we only rent and sell top quality and reliable paddleboards. Some rental companies will cut corners and purchase the cheapest paddleboards available. While that might be ok for their profits, we feel that by renting only quality paddleboards we can offer our customers something they won’t find just anywhere else.

Do I need bug spray?

Sometimes at launch sites the bugs can be bad, so we do recommend some bugspray. Typically the bugs are not bad once out paddling on the water.

Are there alligators in the Keys?

The American Saltwater Crocodile can be found in the northern portions of the Florida Keys. They are highly skittish and are not commonly seen in areas with high human traffic. On March 20, 2007, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service declassified the American crocodile as

an endangered species, downgrading its status to “threatened”; the reptile remains protected from illegal harassing, poaching, or killing under the federal Endangered Species Act.

How deep will the water be?

In the areas we travel on our tours or recommend for your rentals, the water is normally between less than 1 foot to 5 feet deep. Some places have been dredged deeper to allow power boat passage.

Will I get eaten by sharks?

The answer is definitely NO. Most of the sharks we encounter around here are nurse sharks and bonnet head sharks. They are usually less than 4 feet long and will not bite you unless you stick your hand down their mouth. So just relax and enjoy your day out on the water.

What do you sell beside stand up paddleboards?

We offer skateboards, hats, clothing, footwear, flotation, knives, dry boxes and bags, and accessories for a fun time out on the water at our PADDLE! the Florida Keys shop in Tavernier. We can outfit your boat with rod holders and other accessories.

Do you install accessories?

Yes, if you bought the board or boat from us, we will install any accessories free of labor charge. However, if you bought your board or boat from another store, we will charge shop time for any installations. If you can dream it, we can make it happen.

Paddleboard FAQ

What makes stand up paddleboarding so fun and different from other paddle sports?

Here in Key Largo and Tavernier, as well as the rest of the Florida Keys, we have had a long tradition of sea kayaking, which remains a fun way to explore the area. However, the improved viewing angle gives the stand up paddler a better look at what is below the surface of the water. Combined with our shallow bays and creeks, this greatly increases your chance of seeing wildlife below the water, which is largely hidden when you kayak, unless you get in the water with a mask. We frequently see sting rays, crabs, nurse sharks (no, they won’t bite you), sea turtles, and many different species of fish. The higher viewing angle also allows you to see the mangrove root systems and turtle grass beds like never before. As a form of exercise, stand up paddleboarding helps build balance and work your core muscles, even if you’re touring at a leisurely pace.

What is the history of stand up paddle boarding?

The original stand up paddlers were probably the Polynesians. For them, it was a way to travel and commute between islands. The modern stand up movement can be traced to Hawaii, where surf instructors started using long boards and standing with a paddle in order to keep an eye on all

of their students in the water. It wasn’t long before they decided to start racing them and a new sport was born.

How hard is it to learn to stand up paddleboard?

It only takes a few minutes to get the basics. The PADDLE! the Florida Keys team is dedicated to making you feel comfortable before you go out. Whether you’re renting or joining a tour, we’ll explain what you need to know. We start out on land doing some basic skills, and then launch into the water behind the shop to give you some practice. If you’re interested in building up your technique even more, one of our eco tours is the way to go, since you’ll have an expert guide to provide tailored feedback while you explore the mangroves.

I have knee/back/other medical issues. Can I learn to stand up paddleboard?

Maybe, but before taking on a new sport or exercising you should consult and get clearance from your doctor.

What happens if I fall off?

You get wet! Actually, our beginner boards are very stable and difficult to fall off. It’s also easy enough to get back on, especially since much of the mangrove area is not very deep.

What if the wind is blowing?

Our guides know where to take you to provide the most sheltered experience possible. However, sometimes the wind comes up and then we can assist you by offering a tow.

What should I wear?

We recommend covering up to prevent overexposure to the sun. Footwear — think water shoes more than flip flops — is recommended for entering and exiting the water. Even if it looks overcast, bring sunglasses or a full brimmed hat, because the weather shifts frequently throughout the day. All of these items can be purchased at PADDLE! the Florida Keys if you forget anything or want to expand your water wardrobe.

Do I have to wear a life jacket?

The coast guard has determined that when outside of a surf zone or swimming area, you are considered a “vessel under way.” Therefore, you must have a PFD (personal flotation device, or life jacket) and a signaling device (whistle) in your possession at all times while operating the watercraft. They are also required by our insurance company. All rentals and tours include life jackets.

What should I bring?

Sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, water, sunglasses (with leash) for seeing into the water better, a towel, and a change of dry clothes are the main things to bring along. An open mind and a great attitude will also help you immensely in learning this new sport.

Do you rent without lessons?

Yes we do, however, it is a good idea to take a lesson to insure that you are using proper form and to avoid injuries or bad habits. It doesn’t take long for a quick instruction to give you the basics. See our rate sheet for our rental rates.

What do your guides bring along on the trip?

PADDLE! guides will bring along a dry bag with a phone, a first aid kit, and water for everyone on the tour/lesson.

What types of boards do you rent?
  1. Beginner paddleboards, which are very stable and forgiving. These provide a little more peace of mind when learning the new skills needed for stand up paddle boarding.

  2. Intermediate paddleboards, which are less stable but much faster and more performance oriented for the experienced paddler.

  3. Full-blown performance racing boards for those who feel the need for speed.

I just bought a paddleboard. Now what?
  1. Awesome! Check out “How to Enjoy and Care for a Stand Up Paddleboard” on our blog.

Kayak FAQ

What types of kayaks do you rent?

All of our kayaks are sit on top, which are very stable and durable. We offer single and two-person (tandem) kayaks, both of which are perfect for exploring the near shore waters of the Keys.

Do you offer guide service?

Yes we do! Our guided tours start at two hours long and can be arranged for up to 8 hours.  We typically  cruise around the southern end of Key Largo or in Tavernier but can be seen all over the island seeking out the best tour routes for our customers.

I have knee/back/other medical issues. Can I still kayak?

Maybe, but before taking on a new sport or exercising you should consult your doctor and get their clearance.

I have knee/back/other medical issues. Can I learn to stand up paddleboard?

Maybe, but before taking on a new sport or exercising you should consult and get clearance from your doctor.

What happens if I fall off?

You get wet! Our guides will fully cover what to do in case you do go in the water.

What if the wind is blowing?

Our guides know where to take you to provide the most sheltered experience possible. However, sometimes the wind comes up and then we can assist you by offering a tow.

What should I wear?

We recommend covering up to prevent overexposure to the sun. Footwear — think water shoes more than flip flops — is recommended for entering and exiting the water. Even if it looks overcast, bring sunglasses or a full brimmed hat, because the weather shifts frequently throughout the day. All of these items can be purchased at PADDLE! the Florida Keys if you forget anything or want to expand your water wardrobe.

Do I have to wear a life jacket?

The coast guard has determined that a kayak is a “vessel under way.” Therefore, you must have a PFD (personal flotation device, or life jacket) and a signaling device (whistle) in your possession at all times while operating the watercraft. They are also required by our insurance company. All rentals and tours include life jackets.

What should I bring?

Sunscreen, bug spray, a hat, water, sunglasses (with leash) for seeing into the water better, a towel, and a change of dry clothes are the main things to bring along. An open mind and a great attitude will also help you immensely in learning this new sport.

Do you rent without lessons?

Yes we do, however, it is a good idea to take a lesson to insure that you are using proper form and to avoid injuries or bad habits. It doesn’t take long for a quick instruction to give you the basics. See our rate sheet for our rental rates.

What do your guides bring along on the trip?

Our guides will bring along a dry bag with a phone, first aid kit, and water for everyone on the tour/lesson.

What to bring for a fun day on the water

  • Sunscreen (this is Florida)

  • Towel

  • Dry clothes

  • Bug Spray (this is Florida)

  • Telephone, in a dry box or waterproof case

  • Friends – paddling is much more fun with a couple of friends along

  • Water shoes can be helpful

  • Snorkeling gear if you want to get up close and personal with the underwater life — you can rent this from us too

  • A hat to keep the sun off your face and neck

  • Sunglasses with sunglass retainer

  • Snacks and water

  • A positive attitude!  (this is most important and will affect your whole day)