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Sanibel Sea School offering SUP classes, rentals

April 5, 2017
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The idea of getting people to explore the ocean in a different way has Sanibel Sea School Outdoor Educator and SUP Coordinator Spencer Richardson excited about the organizations new offering - standup paddleboarding classes.

"The hardest thing is to wrap your head around that you are not going to fall," she said of paddleboarding. "The biggest problem that people have is they think they are going to fall, so they are going to fall. But once they get a little confident on the board it is really easy. We have nice stable boards that we are using."

The classes will provide attendees with the opportunity to explore mangrove forests, while learning about wildlife.

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The Sanibel Sea School is now offering paddleboarding classes Monday, Thursday and Friday afternoon.


"This is the first time we are doing classes, but we have been doing standup paddleboarding camps for three or four years," Richardson said. "We wanted to offer standup paddleboard classes because we love standup paddleboard here. It allows us to interact with our environment in a different way than just being on the beach, or on a boat. You get this great viewpoint on top of this standup paddleboard and you are not scaring away a lot of the wildlife with a big boat engine. You just get this really nice connection with the water when you are on a standup paddleboard."

The two and a half hour class covers the basics of standup paddleboarding, as well as different strokes one can do.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to go through "awesome" mangrove forrest around Bunche Beach and Rock Creek, as well as San Carlos Bay. The location was chosen through a partnership with the Great Calusa Blueway due to the water being calm and the land being protected around Bunche Beach.

"We get to explore the mangroves and why they are important to this area. We will talk about estuaries, since we will be apart of the estuary there. We will get to explore all of the nature that we find there, all of the animals that we find in that area," Richardson said of the fish, crabs, manatees and dolphins.

The first class began April 3.

The classes, which has room for up to six people, will be offered three times a week from 1p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday and Friday and from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday. Classes are $70.

If those times do not work for an individual, they can set up a two hour private standup paddleboard exploration class with the Sanibel Sea School. Private sessions are $75.

In addition to the classes, the Sanibel Sea School is also offering SUP rentals as well.

"We have everything they need to go out (standup paddleboard, adjustable paddle, leash and PFD/whistle). We can deliver them, or if they want to they can pick up as well. We just ask that they call within our business hours, and our drop off and pick up will be during business time," Richardson said.

The rentals are $60 for four hours, $75 for 24 hours, $120 for two to four days and $150 for five to seven days. For inquiries and reservations call (239) 472-8585, or email

"It's really reasonable and their money is going towards a nonprofit if they rent with us," Richardson said.

Richardson is American Canoe Association certified to teach paddleboarding.

In order to get the certification she took a three day intense course that provided instruction about standup paddleboarding.

Richardson said in 2008 when the U.S. Coast Guard deemed the standup paddleboard a vessel the sport became popular.

"It's hard to go out on the bay and not see someone standup paddleboarding anymore. It's a great sport that a lot of people have been able to get into and it's easy. You get this great vantage point of the water," she said.

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