Human powered craft, such as kayaks and paddleboards, play a significant role in Marco Island’s boating community, enabling people to simultaneously engage in boating while getting a lot of healthy exercise.
Locally, we see the numerous ways islanders participate in boating – by human powered craft, many styles of paddling (including stand up paddleboarding), recreational kayaking, surf ski racing, touring via sea kayaks, and traditional Greenland-style kayaking. The mission of the newly formed Marco Island Paddlers Association, Inc. (MIPA) is to accommodate and advance these paddle sports in our community.
MIPA includes a very diverse group of paddlers, ranging from people new to the sport and paddle recreational kayaks, to experienced sea kayakers who have paddled for decades and are American Canoe Association certified instructors. For all experience levels, MIPA’s main focus is to enjoy being on the water paddling, exercising, and making friends. Paddles, hosted by MIPA members, range from spirited 20-mile paddles circumnavigating Marco Island, to easy-paced (but still healthful) paddles through the bays and mangroves.
MIPA’s recent group paddles included paddling the East River to Fakahatchee Bay, embarking from Everglades National Park and paddling to Jewell and Indian Key, and paddling the mangroves and channels adjacent to Goodland Bay. Some of the upcoming paddles will be on the Turner River, through the bays and mangroves from Shell Island Road, a paddle to Gullivan Key from Goodland Boat Park, and a training session on safety and rescue skills.
People participate in paddle sports for wide range of reasons- from extreme health and fitness, to getting up close and personal with nature while encountering dolphins, manatees and other wildlife in their habitat. MIPA accommodates many styles of paddle sports by hosting paddles, holding informative meetings and being the focal point for paddlers within Marco’s boating community.
Would you like to learn more about paddling or about MIPA?
Come to the community room at Mackle Park on March 9, 2016 at 6 PM for a community meeting and panel discussion on group paddling, led by Michael Zabre, a member of the MIPA board of directors. For 35 years Michael owned and taught classes for Adventure Outfitters, a chain of outdoor sporting goods stores in New England. He has led over 200 kayak trips, and has paddled in Alaska, British Columbia, Newfoundland, Costa Rica, Chile, Hawaii, New Zealand, Baja, California and much of the U.S. coast. For more information on MIPA, visit: www.meetup.com/Marco-Island-Paddling-Association, or on Facebook: Marco Island Paddling Association, or call Phares Heindl at 239-285-5048.