Last month, I had the privilege to join Happy Hour Paddle hosted by 30A Paddleboard Yoga with Shanda Beste. My friend Marieke and I were in Santa Rosa, Florida to attend an anesthesia conference and we arrived a few days before the conference to relax, enjoy the weather, and hang out Santa Rosa style. I decided to book us a Happy Hour Paddle tour with Shanda. She has the most fun SUP activities such as this tour, Full Moon Paddle, SUP YOGA, private SUP lessons, private parties, and other workshops.
More about 30A Paddleboard Yoga can be found here:
I met Shanda last summer when I was in Santa Rosa beach for a summer visit with my family. Shanda is a fellow yoga teacher, a SUP teacher, and an energy healer. She is the owner of 30A Paddleboard Yoga and Inner Chi Wellness and she is the author of The Path to What you Want: A Transformational Program to Help You Get What You Want Instead of Settling for What's in Front of You.
Shanda also trains people in Paddleboarding and SUP YOGA. I completed both certifications last summer with her training programs.
My friend Marieke had been on a paddleboard before, but she had never done a lengthy tour like this one. She was pretty curious and very optimistic about what we were planning to do. I had done the tour last summer so I explained what she could expect. She is a relaxed "go with the flow" type person, so this was going to be a fun thing to do together with her.
The tour takes about an hour to paddle from the start point at Shanda's Paddle Hut to the end destination at Bay Restaurant. The tour begins in a canal and then the canal opens up to scenic Chochtawhatchee Bay. The tour continues along the bay and then ends on the beach in front of The Bay Restaurant. People who book the tour can book a one way or round trip SUP tour. We decided to book a one way trip because we wanted to eat dinner, drink some cocktails, and watch the band. A total roundtrip tour is about 2-3 hours.
For this tour, we used inflatable boards from the brands Riviera and Glide . Shanda also tried out her new motor for her SUP board from the brand Big Speed SUP Jet. The Riviera board had a rounded nose and a wide deck. It was a very stable board and great for touring and for beginners. The Glide board had a pointed nose and even when fully inflated, was really soft and light. The pointed nose, the softness, and the lightweight feel made it really easy to maneuver and paddle the board in the bay with the wind. It was pretty stable for it's narrower deck and it was fast. : )
Here is the link for the Riviera SUP board:
and the Glide SUP board:
The trip was really fun. You can see mullet jumping all around in the water. You can see lots of local birds. If you are lucky, you may see a stingray, dolphin, or manatee.
When we were making our way along the bay, about mid-trip, you could hear the band already with the sound carrying over the water as the sun was beginning to set. We pulled up to the restaurant and anchored the boards on the beach. Each person has a dry bag to use for the trip so you can store an extra change of clothes, a towel, a purse, high heels, a dress, makeup, whatever you want to bring!! : ) You of course should wear quick dry clothes on the SUP board just in case you fall in the water (which usually doesn't happen when just paddleboarding).
After we anchored down, we walked into the restaurant, went into the bathroom, changed clothes, put on cute shoes, touched up our make-up and hair, and came out of the bathroom like Bond girls! You make quite an entrance pulling up to a restaurant on a SUP board and then doing a quick glam change in the restaurant. Haha.
We then ordered our drinks, got a table by the band that evening (The Pickled PIckers), and sat to watch the sunset as we ordered our food. The Bay Restaurant is known for their sushi, fresh fish dishes, local craft beer, cocktails, and wine selection. You really can't make a bad choice at this restaurant and it has hands down, the best view of the sunset on the bay!
Here is a link for the The Bay Restaurant:
Next time you head down to the Florida panhandle, you must try this out. This is an experience that you just can't miss.
Thanks for reading!