Jacksonville, FL iROCKER Fan Nancie Lott Searches for Manatees at Fort De Soto State Park with the Help of Her Faithful Pooch
Each and every SUP-er, at some point in their SUP life, is bound to have a transformative experience involving from their board. A lot of SUP-ers probably haven’t had theirs yet. They come in all different levels, from finding internal peace on calm waters to discovering your inner-daredevil on rough ones.
Either way, when you have your first transformative SUP experience, you’ll know it and you’ll definitely remember it.
The following story is more on the calm side, but there’s a shark in the mix. It’s an inspiring fan story from Florida that involves everything a perfect day out on an iSUP should involve.
Nancie Lott loves living the beach life in Northeast Florida with her furry friend, Maggie. Any free time she and her pup have together is spent on the water.
Maggie loves the water almost as much as her mum. When Maggie starts to sense that Nancie is preparing for a ride, she races over to the iROCKER and makes a huge commotion. She freaks out and has an ongoing relay race between the door and the iROCKER until it’s finally time to leave.
Can you blame her, though? There’s nothing better than a girl and her dog spending some quality SUP time together.
There’s not a much more ideal place for iSUP than Northeast Florida. There’s a long stretch of beach from north to south, starting at Fernandina and ending at Vilano Beach. On top of that, Vilano Beach is right near the oldest city in the country, St Augustine.
If you’re thinking about a summer getaway to a cooler climate, you might give Northeast Florida some serious consideration.
The beaches in St Augustine are amazing, not to mention the parking is free and easy to access. Surfers aren’t the only ones calling dibs on these beaches. Look out surfers, SUP-ers are here to join the party!
The awesome inland waterways in Northeast Florida are another SUP Mecca. You can imagine how beautiful the Intracoastal Waterway looks from your board, with the abundant sea life and natural shorelines as far as the eye can see.
Aside from that, there are plenty of lakes, rivers and even ponds that have their own beauty to offer. The water is fine, the weather is nice and the state parks are free.
Nancie’s adventure started when her buddy, Steve, asked her to join him and his dog on a morning paddle session followed by a visit to Fort De Soto State Park. Of course, Nancie agreed, and Maggie was right behind her.
Nancie says they began their trek heading for the Skyway Bridge in Jacksonville, FL. They were lucky enough to see oyster beds and a baby bonnethead shark on their journey. They scared the shark more than it scared them, but everyone got away unharmed. Okay, so the shark part wasn’t that exhilarating but there’s more to this story.
Nancie and the gang continued paddling. They came across some fellow water lovers in kayaks and invited them to join their course.
When Nancie took her eyes off the water for a minute, she realized Maggie was entranced by something below. Her brave pup was standing toward the front of the board, staring fearlessly at the giant gray creature’s underneath. Maggie spotted sea cows! It’s not every day a SUP-er gets to float around with an aggregation. (Seriously, look that up. You can use that word in your next game of Words with Friends!)
The sea cows, or manatees, were puzzled by the iSUPs but didn’t seem to mind their presence in the water. They did try to knock the iSUP’s at times, maybe in an attempt to wake up the unrecognizable “animal.”
Nancie says a manatee knocked her board and nearly threw her off, but she knew how to avoid that mess. She fell to a seated position before she could lose her balance.
“He was actually pulling on my fin at one point in a totally playful way,” Nancie says.
“It was the most amazing experience I’ve ever had,” she adds. “Times like these are why I carry my iROCKER everywhere with me. If I can find water, I’m going in!”
Do you have a memorable SUP moment you’ve experienced with your iROCKER? Share the details with us and your pics, too, in the fields below.