By: Tammy Roberts
From our serene beaches to our natural wildlife habitats, there are a variety of things that make the Space Coast a unique place for residents, as well as visitors. And in a community surrounded by such diverse bodies of water, there is no shortage of things to see and do – no matter what your age. Read on as we highlight some of Brevard County’s most thrilling, inviting and luxurious activities, sure to satisfy any interest.
• Find balance in your life with Riding His Waters Paddleboarding Strengthen your body, as well as your mind by paddling your way into one of the area’s most growing sports. The Christian-based business, which offers guided, eco-friendly paddleboard adventure tours, has been a longtime dream for avid surfer and environmental enthusiast Hans Wagner. A resident of Indialantic, Hans has been known to lead his guests through the Sebastian Inlet islands, the Indian River Lagoon, the Atlantic Ocean and everywhere in between. “I think for me, the joy of watching someone experience the sport for the first time and the feeling of standing on water like never before is what I enjoy most,” Hans says. From the Expert: What to Expect: Paddlers can expect professional instruction and to see themselves progress quickly, while seeing wildlife such as manatee, fish, dolphins, birds and sea turtles. Most Common Misconception: That stand-up paddleboarding is difficult to do. In reality, Hans says, it’s a sport that people of all ages can perform with absolutely zero experience. What to wear: Comfortable swim clothes and sunscreen. Locations: Indian and Banana Rivers, Long Point Campground, Sebastian Inlet Park, Crane Creek, Samson Island, ocean surf. Cost: Guided paddleboard tours: $50 for two hours; paddleboard rentals: $30 for four hours Contact: (321) 720-1559 Website: www.ridinghiswaters.com • Reach new heights with Cocoa Beach Parasail Combine the thrill of flying with the calmness of the ocean by taking a ride like no other. With more than 16 years’ experience in the unique water sport, Cocoa Beach Parasail owners Pam and Rusty Worsham offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity for guests ages 5 to 95 to view Brevard’s waters from a totally different perspective. Start your journey at Port Canaveral and glide 500 or 800 feet in the air along the coast, while catching a glimpse of such landmarks as Kennedy Space Center, Jetty Park, the Cocoa Beach Pier and the renowned Ron Jon Surf Shop. “Helping guests defy the laws of aeronautics has put us on the very top of the exciting, fun pyramid,” Pam says. “We’ve also been told that parasailing with us has been life-altering. Some guests are seeing the ocean for the first time and others are facing their fears head on with us. To be able to reach these milestones with them is truly special.” From the Experts: What To Expect: An experience of a lifetime – amazing aerials sprinkled with a backdrop of good music and top-notch customer service. Most Common Misconception: That parasailing is scary. Actually it’s quite the opposite, Pam says. It’s very serene and peaceful. Because the take-offs and landings are slow and gradual, you don’t have to worry about a frightening experience. What To Wear: Ladies should wear bathing suits under their clothing, while guys can wear swim shorts and a T-shirt. For chilly weather, bring a jacket or a hoodie just in case. Location: Rusty’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, 628 Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral, and Sunrise Marina, 505 Glen Cheek Drive, Port Canaveral Cost: 500-foot flight: $65 per person; 800-foot flight: $70 per person Contact: (321) 212-8277 Website: www.cocoabeachparasail.com • Challenge your skills with Good Breeze Kiteboarding Why just fly a kite when you can use it to surf? Give that old pastime a serious jolt by introducing yourself to the sport of kiteboarding. Sometimes referred to as “kitesurfing,” kiteboarding is when a rider stands on a small surfboard and is propelled across water by a large kite, to which the rider is harnessed. The activity will help you get in shape and provide a great full-body workout, but the most important part of kite-flying is finesse, says Good Breeze Kiteboarding owner Billy Bosch. The business offers lessons for people of all ages and experience levels, which includes an introductory three-hour lesson on land and a boat-supported water lesson in the Banana River. “Kiteboarding is not difficult, but it takes time, commitment and instruction to learn,” Billy says. “Once you learn the basics and the safety involved, it is a breeze and unimaginably fun.” From the Expert: What to Expect: Once people learn the basics and the terminology behind the sport, they get hooked right away. Most Common Misconception: That kiteboarding is the same as windsurfing. Wind surfing involves a large board with a mat in the center and a sail that you stand and hold, while with kiteboarding, you use the kite to harness and propel you, Billy says, and the board itself is much smaller and can be folded up to fit in the trunk of your car. What to wear: A swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat and water shoes. Wetsuits are encouraged in the winter months. Locations: Inside the Ron Jon Surf School, 150 E. Columbia Lane, Cocoa Beach Cost: Intro lesson: $180 per person; $140 per person for three people or $100 per person for four to six people. Contact: (321) 252-KITE Website: www.ridinghiswaters.com • Come Sail Away with Performance Sail & Sport Feel the wind in your sails, while exploring the beauty of Brevard’s welcoming waters. A Space Coast staple for more than 20 years, Performance Sail & Sport provides training courses for beginner-level high school students to intermediate-level students, as well as adults, who just want to brush up on their skills. Private lessons can be tailored to each student. Owner Scott Hubel, who has been sailing competitively for the past 40 years, teaches his students aboard either his company’s 13-foot Hobie Wave or 16-foot Hobie Gateway sailboats. Both vessels are available for rent, as well. From the Expert: What to Expect: Scott guarantees that by the end of a one-hour lesson, students will have learned to sail one of the company’s boats on their own. Most Common Misconception: That sailing is difficult to learn and expensive to do. It’s not just for the yacht-clubbers, Scott says. What to wear: Comfortable swim clothes and sunscreen. Location: 6055 N. U.S. Highway 1, Melbourne Cost: Private lessons are $75 an hour or $60 an hour for club members. Contact: (321) 253-3737 Website: www.performancesailandsport.com • Explore your environment with Cocoa Beach Kayaking Make friends with local wildlife as you cruise alongside manatee, dolphin, stingray and fish aboard one of Cocoa Beach Kayaking’s tandem kayaks. With a degree in oceanography from Florida Tech, Cocoa Beach Kayaking owner Jessica Yeaman is no stranger to the local marine environment, as much of her educational research was performed in the area’s waterways. Kayaking tours, which can feature groups of 13 or less, launch from the Cocoa Beach Country Club and take participants through the Thousand Islands and surrounding areas. In addition to being a fun activity on the water, the company’s tours feature educational tidbits about the local environment and how it all fits together. From the Expert: What to Expect: To see a variety of marine wildlife, while, at the same time, learn about the history of the area and its natural habitats. Most Common Misconception: That the kayak will tip. Jessica says the kayaks they use are more like canoes and are sturdier than one may think. What to wear: Bathing suits or comfortable clothes in the warmer months, but bring a wind breaker in the cooler months. What they provide: Bottled water, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, bug spray and towels for each guest. Bring a hat, camera or snack if needed. Location: 5000 Tom Warriner Blvd., Cocoa Beach Cost: Tour prices are $35 per person, not including gratuity. Contact: (321) 784-4545 Website: www.cocoabeachkayaking.com • Get hooked with Fineline Fishing Charters Are you tired of catching the same ol’ fish or simply looking for a new environment to test your skills? Then spend a day with Capt. Jim Ross of Fineline Fishing Charters. A United States Coast Guard licensed captain and a second-generation native of the Space Coast area, Capt. Ross has a precise understanding of the feeding habits and migratory patterns of various species of fish that call Brevard’s waters home. A full-time fishing guide, you can find this admired angler cruising through the Banana and Indian Rivers or the diverse Mosquito Lagoon at least 250 days a year. Whether you’re looking to site-fish for monster redfish in the shallows, snag some gator trout in the grass flats or hook up with some tarpon, snook, cobia or kingfish off the beaches, Capt. Ross can tailor his excursions aboard his 17-foot flats skiff or 22-foot Skeeter bay boat to ensure you have the best possible chance of catching fish. From the Expert: What to Expect: Friendly service, a knowledgeable guide and a trip of a lifetime. Most Common Misconception: That fish eat 24 hours a day. “I don’t have a magic wand to make you catch fish,” says Capt. Ross. “But I have a few tricks up my sleeve.” What to wear: Summertime anglers can wear swimsuits. But bring along a lightweight cover up to protect yourself from excessive sun and wind exposure when fishing in May through September. Fall, winter and springtime anglers fishing in October through April should dress for temperatures 10 to 15 degrees colder than the forecasted morning low temperature to account for wind chill while the boat is running to the fishing grounds. What they provide: Fishing licenses for every angler on board, Lamiglas fishing rods, Shimano reels and all other tackle lures, bait and ice, complimentary Fineline Fishing Charters T-shirts, as well as a cooler for food and drinks. Be sure to bring polarized sunglasses, a camera, hat, sunscreen, soft-soled shoes with a non-marking sole, your own cooler for parties of three or more, a separate cooler if you intend to keep fish for dinner, plenty of non-caffeinated drinks and motion-sickness medicine for near-shore trips if necessary. Location: Various public boat launches throughout the county, depending on the season and the type of fish you want to catch. Cost: Flats/back-country trip (based on one or two anglers): four hours is $350; six hours is $400 and eight hours is $450. Tarpon, cobia and near-shore trips (based on one to three anglers): five hours is $475 and eight hours is $575. Contact: (321) 636-3728 Website: www.finelinefishingcharters.com • Catch a ride with SurfGuys Surf School See what makes surfing such a shared sport on the Space Coast by signing up for a SurfGuys surf lesson. Opened in March 1997, the company boasts seasoned instructors, who have been involved in the industry since the late 1970s. With a focus on beginners, SurfGuys has taught students ages 6 to 68 and is known for its stress-free, yet structured lesson plans. “Since I’ve started keeping count on Jan. 1, 2001, I’m proud to say we have a perfect record of getting students up and riding their boards before the lesson is over,” says SurfGuys founder George Jones. From the Expert: What to Expect: A comfortable, entertaining and educational lesson that is very task-oriented in order to help students realize their own vision of what surfing is. Most Common Misconception: That it’s easy. Some people think it’s as simple as jumping up on the board and riding it, George says. But there are certain things a student needs to learn in order to make it all come together. What to wear: Swimsuits and/or rash guards. What they provide: All the necessary boards and equipment for guaranteed success. Bring along all your beach essentials, as well as a positive attitude. Location: Various beaches throughout the county. Cost: Private instruction is $55 an hour; semi-private instruction for two students is $50 an hour per person; group instruction is $45 an hour per person; competitive surf instruction is $60 an hour. Contact: (321) 956-3268 Website: www.surfguyssurf.com • Explore your local paradise with Hayley’s Jet Ski & Boat Rental Stay afloat, while making waves in the waters that Brevard County is known for. What started out as a pipe dream for 19-year-old Hayley Kerr has evolved into a growing business that offers the largest rental fleet of watercraft on the Space Coast. At age 15, Hayley encouraged her family to open its own rental business after noticing a need in the Melbourne area. Today, Hayley’s Jet Ski & Boat Rental offers 19 boats, ranging from deck boats to fishing boats and even a sailboat, as well as six jet skis. Once you rent one of these watercrafts, you’re free to take it in any of Brevard County’s waters. Hayley’s also offers boating lessons for $25 an hour aboard one of the company’s rentals, as well as an annual membership in the 321 Boat Club, which features unlimited rentals without the hassle of cleaning, maintaining and hauling the watercraft. From the Experts: What to Expect: The largest selection in the area, the comfort and knowledge of a family-owned business and a fun time on the water. Other Rentals: Hayley’s also offers tubes, kneeboards, skis, fishing poles and wakeboards. Cost: Fees vary for watercraft rentals, which can be rented by the hour, half-day, full-day or even the week and can hold from one individual up to 14, depending on the boat. 321 Boat Club membership is $3,450 for the first year plus $49 a month. Location: 96 E. Eau Gallie Causeway, Melbourne Contact: (321) 507-5400 Website: www.hayleysjetskirental.com