Port Everglades

You'll have to carry your board half a mile, because after you wind through the Harbor Beach neighborhood and snag one of just eight or so public parking spots on South Ocean Drive, walk another block to the tiny gate on South Ocean Lane that lets you onto an almost-secret stretch of public beach beside the Point of Americas condominium. After that, you still have to walk down a sandy corridor to get to the wide-open beach. Don't go straight into the water; turn hard right and climb over the big giant rocks that make up the jetty and into the (very busy!) inlet where boats travel in and out of Fort Lauderdale. This spot is decidedly not for groms, because the waves you will be catching are not just waves that break only when the occasional southeast swell hits just so but also waves created by giant cruise ships and massive freighters moving in and out of the port. Yet for the exceptionally skilled few who can hack it, there are no urban thrills more exciting than dropping in on the wake of a 225,000-ton Oasis of the Seas — it's like coming thiiiis close to getting run over by a $1.4 billion, 16-story, 6,000-passenger hotel. And yes, if the marine patrol sees you, you're in trouble.

Mario St. Cyr was the first guy to open a stand-up paddleboard business in Fort Lauderdale when he ran Paddles and Boards, parking his trailer right there on Sunrise Boulevard at George English Park, where it was easy to push off into the calm Intracoastal Waterway and commune with manatees and superyachts. Paddlers loved that Mario was ultrafriendly, didn't charge an arm and a leg and an internal organ, and didn't overcomplicate the sport so he could upsell you overpriced lessons. (Newsflash: It's really not complicated to stand up, balance, and paddle.) But after many competitors got into the game and undercut him by not having insurance, St. Cyr decided to get out of the seven-day-a-week rentals and reignite his real estate business. Which left him time and spirit to start a paddleboarding charity! Now St. Cyr, who once taught skiing to underprivileged kids, rents boards by appointment ($40 to $45 for all-day rental with free introductory lesson or $200 for a two-hour private lesson), and is focused on group events — like offering paddleboarding to kids who would otherwise never get the chance to try it and hosting fundraisers like Stand-Up for the Pets (paddle with your dog onboard and raise funds for spay and neuter programs). Even with these new initiatives, St. Cyr manages to offer semiregular paddleboarding lessons to Fort Lauderdale residents at the low, low cost of absolutely free! Next dates are June 22 and July 13 — get on that!

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