Suwannee River Paddling Festival Suwannee River Wilderness Trail St. Johns River Florida Keys Challenge Ochlockonee River Lucky Mud Band on the Ochlockonee Ocklockonee Bay Great Calusa Blueway Manatees off the St. Johns River Florida Keys Challenge Wekiva River

Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure. Paddle Florida, ,

, Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

, Paddle Florida: Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.

Paddle Florida:
Inspiring. Meaningful. Adventure.
Paddle Florida, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation organized to support canoeing and kayaking in Florida.  Multi-day paddling/camping adventures in each of Florida's five water management districts showcase the state's natural beauty and rich cultural heritage while promoting water conservation, wildlife preservation, springs restoration, and waterways protection.  Paddle Florida also seeks to promote Florida as an international destination for nature-based tourism. 

Our 2015-16 paddling season:

Paddle Florida staff members scout trips in advance to ensure waterway conditions and shoreline campsites are safe, comfortable, and showcase nature's best view.  Meal plans and gear shuttling eliminate the need to weigh down boats with food and camping equipment.  Florida-based entertainment and educational programming is provided each evening by regional artists, musicians, authors, and naturalists.  Partnerships with local outfitters provide paddlers with canoes, kayaks, and other paddling gear to rent as needed. With this level of support, paddlers of all ages and skill levels can explore and enjoy the REAL Florida! 

Archived Happy Paddler newsletters:

Paddle Florida, Inc. a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation
P.O. Box 5953, Gainesville, FL 32627
1710 SW 35th Place, Unit C
Gainesville, FL 32608

Board of Directors:
Nickie Kortus, President
Jill Lingard, Vice President
Robert Hutchinson, Secretary
Debra Akin, Treasurer
Lars Andersen, Board Member

Tax return & 990 documents:

Refund policy:
Due to the financial outlay and costs incurred by Paddle Florida during event planning, any force majeure, which includes but is not limited to water levels, inclement weather and any other Acts of God not mentioned herein, shall not result in the refund of any fees paid to Paddle Florida. Absolutely no fees will be refunded after 15 days before the event begins. Any fees refunded by Paddle Florida will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Angelia Tindel-Douglas ~ December 2015

(11/30/2015) Where are you from? Your profession?  I was born in Sanford, Florida. I live in New Smyrna Beach. I'm an accountant. When and how did you become interested in paddling?   It was so long ago I can't remember. Paddling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Where is your favorite place to paddle?  All over Florida. What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?   Paddling over the shoals on the Suwanee River a few months ago. I didn't think I had it in me. How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  I've been on three trips so far. Twice on the Wekiva/St. John's River Ramble and just recently on the Suwanee trip. What keeps you coming back?    I love meeting new friends that share the love of paddling like I do. I've formed some great friendships from these trips. Can you describe a particular Paddle Florida trip highlight?   Camping at Wekiwa Springs State Park. That place is awesome! What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip?   Just do it! You'll be happy you did.

Dee Graham ~ November 2015

(10/31/2015) Where are you from?  Your profession?  I currently live in Milton, Georgia, but for 35 years I lived and worked in Cincinnati, Ohio.  Before retiring in 2003, I was a professor at the University of Cincinnati for 30 years, doing research, teaching, and a small amount of administration.  By training I am a developmental psychobiologist. When and how did you become interested in paddling? When young, I fished with my dad and in the process learned I loved being on the water, especially in the early morning when it’s quiet, fog hides everything except what-is-near, and the sun is just coming up.  While in grad school, I felt I had no time for anything but work, but then the dad of a friend almost died in surgery and I rethought my priorities, which meant I purchased a canoe and started paddling.  That was more than 40 years ago. Where is your favorite place to paddle? When I lived in Cincinnati, I loved paddling into town on the Ohio River at dusk after a lengthy paddle.  The city’s lights of many colors reflected on the water, and it was beautiful, all the more beautiful if a game was occurring in the stadium on the river and fireworks were going off.  Another favorite is the Buffalo River in northern Arkansas.  While beautiful, majestic cliffs stand high above the paddler, the fish and boulders beneath the water are also visible.  Each time I’m on this river, I realize I miss half of what is there to be experienced when I’m on other rivers. What’s the most interesting thing that ever happened to you on a paddling trip?  That would have to be Paddle Florida’s “Dam to the Bay” trip in March of 2013.  There were 20+ knot winds on Ochlockonee Bay, I was in a little 10-foot kayak, and many of us feared we were going to die that day.  Fortunately, we all made it!  When the trip ended and I was driving home, I found myself feeling competent, confident, and like a new person.  Perhaps that was due just to the euphoria of having survived.  Lesson learned:  pay attention to the weather and to signs that perhaps it’s not a good day to paddle. How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  I’ve gone on a number of them—Suwannee, Ochlockonee, and the Withlacoochee—all of them more than once. What keeps you coming back?  I love camping, paddling to a new place, and camping again, and on and on.  Paddle Florida enables me to do that and to do it for a week at a time and in comfortable temps each winter.  It has also enabled me to make some really good friends who continue to be important to me all the rest of the year when I’m not paddling with Paddle Florida. Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight?  I continue to love paddling in the fog.  Sometimes you can’t see which way the river bends ahead of you, or even much farther than the front of your boat.  I love paddling in the rain.  And I love the people I meet each trip.  I love the surprises each trip can bring, for example, the windy day on Ochlockonee Bay or a 2014 Withlacoochee trip in which temps dropped down into the 20s at night. What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? Pack up and go!  Don’t worry about having a paddle partner.  You’ll find one when you arrive the first night.  Check out the weather in advance and make sure you have the clothes and sleeping bag you need for the expected temps.  When it rains, you can get cold, so take appropriate clothes—including for hands and feet—to stay warm beneath your rain gear.  Take a solar shower and/or wipes to clean up with on those days you don’t otherwise have a shower.  For those who love hammocks, know there is always at least one night in which you are not permitted to hang a hammock.  Your luggage is never weighed, so don’t let the 40-pound weight restriction keep you from going or cause you to spend a lot of money on ultra-light equipment.  If you don’t have a kayak, or don’t want to transport it, rent one for while there.  This is a good time to check out a particular boat to see if you’d want to purchase that model and size.  If you have questions, contact Bill or Jill.  Most important:  go, relax, and have fun!  And, if I’m there, make sure you introduce yourself to me.  I’d like to know you.

Connie Hollis ~ October 2015

(09/29/2015) Where are you from?  Your profession?  I was born and raised in the Atlanta area.  In 1966 as soon as I turned 20, I began applying to Delta Airlines to be a stewardess.  Most young women were looking for a husband. At the time, we had to sign a contract that we would quit at 35 or when we married.  I knew I wanted a career.  Fortunately, laws eventually changed and I began my career.   When and how did you become interested in paddling? I now live on Jackson Lake in Georgia. I got my first kayak as a birthday present in 2000.  It was a 10-foot Hobie with paddles, pedals, and a sail.  I still love it!  Shortly after getting mine, my husband bought his fishing Hobie.  I was looking for a kayaking vacation online in 2008 and stumbled upon Paddle Florida’s inaugural trip down the Suwannee River.  I signed us up, and we’ve been hooked ever since.   Where is your favorite place to paddle? Ebenezer Creek near Savannah, Georgia is probably my favorite place to paddle…it’s like paddling on the set of The Lord of the Rings.  I have fallen in love with swamps, but also enjoy the ocean.   How many Paddle Florida trips have you gone on and to where?  I have been on many Paddle Florida trips: the Peace River, the Suwannee many times, and the Keys Challenge.  I have also begun doing paddle trips with other organizations and a group of people we met in Georgia.    What keeps you coming back?  I love the quiet, coming around a river bend to birds, gators, and monkeys.  Paddling fills all those empty places inside and I return to regular life refreshed.    Can you describe a Paddle Florida trip highlight? On the Keys trip last year, who knew I could paddle almost 80 miles?  A huge sea turtle came up to my boat and raised its head out of the water. I will never forget it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a camera in hand. (Although I have discovered that I miss a lot trying to take pictures…and see almost everything without one.)  I saw sharks, starfish, barracuda, and sting rays in the ocean.  I loved the day it rained and there were swells.  It was like riding a roller coaster.  My husband Tommy said I was laughing out loud.   What advice do you have for folks considering a Paddle Florida trip? I would tell people looking at the Paddle Florida trips to come just one time.  Bill Richards thinks of everything.  I follow his packing list and I’m set.  He feeds me (way more than I need), hauls my camping gear, entertains me in the evening around the campfire, and arranges a place for me to lay my head at night.  All I have to do is paddle. I’ve met lots of people of all different ages and walks of life.  Some of them return again and again like me. I have made friends for life on Paddle Florida trips.

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