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By Maria Mora

Stand-up paddleboard surfer. Credit: Mike Baird

Stand-up paddleboard surfer. Credit: Mike Baird

Standing for “You Only Live Once,” YOLO boarding is a relatively new water sport involving a hybrid paddleboard that can be used as a traditional surfboard. Originating in California and inspired by historic Hawaiian surfboards, stand-up paddleboarding is a popular sport in Florida and growing in popularity on many other beach vacations.

If you’re planning a Florida vacation, check out these places to try out YOLO Boarding with the natives.

This well-known destination for beach vacations sports, with dozens of beachside resorts. Stay at the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort and head to the Sandestin Baytowne Marina for YOLA board group lessons. Once you’ve learned the ropes, book a YOLO fishing tour. In the evening, cool down and visit one of the free Wednesday-night concert series events.

St. Petersburg
Thanks to the tranquil waters of Tampa Bay and the vibrant shores of the Gulf Beaches, St. Petersburg is home to an active YOLO boarding community. Rent a board and head to the Weedon Island Preserve for an adventure through wild mangrove-lined canals. Stay at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort and Golf Club for easy access to the bay andthe beaches.

South Seas Island Resort, Captiva

South Seas Island Resort, Captiva

One of the newer YOLO boarding destinations, this tranquil Gulf Coast island offers a mix of mom-and-pop beachside hotels and luxury resorts. If you’re traveling with family, try the South Seas Island Resort for a full-service getaway. Visit YOLO Watersports for rentals and lessons in Sanibel and Captiva.

Key West
Home of the annual Key West Paddleboard Classic, Key West inspires open-ocean paddleboarders and YOLO boarders. Thanks to the tropical waters and gorgeous scenery, Key West is a great place to explore this eco-friendly water sport. Plan your Florida vacation for May 15 to witness the race and the chance to meet expert YOLO boarders, including reigning champion Gary Wise.

Maria Mora is a memoir blogger and wannabe photographer. She travels extensively throughout Florida and the Caribbean with her two young sons.

Tagged: Florida

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Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn

Nina Kokotas Hahn is a travel writer and Chicago journalist whose work appears in Chicago magazine, HuffPost Travel and Condé Nast’s HotelChatter. Globetrotting since infancy, she’s the daughter of a travel agent and considers thrill seeking part of the DNA. Find her on Twitter at @ninakhahn.

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