Florida on a Tankful: Paddleboard with your dog in Manasota Key

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Saturday, July 29, 2017, 6:48 AM EDT

As the sun gets heavy in the west, Paige Bakhaus gets ready to set sail.

"We do fun," Paige says while still dry.

Yet Paige is not alone sitting on a paddleboard on Florida’s west coast. Her best friend Bailey is along for the ride.

"We love well behaved dogs that love to paddle!" Paige says about her business that is dog-friendly.

"Hooked on SUP," short for "Stand-Up Paddleboarding" leads eco tours on Manasota Key in Charlotte County, where man's best friend is invited to embrace nature.

"The animals learn to trust you, because you did something cool together,” Paige believes.

Departing from Stump Pass Beach State Park, paddlers on two legs, and those on four legs, set out for a leisurely workout.

'Everybody knows their own dog, and knows what their own dog is comfortable with,” she warns before hitting the water.

Dogs who can swim enjoy the adventure. But what if you don't have a dog?

"You can hang out with your pets. Whatever type of pet,” explained Dawn Rothenhoefer, who was holding her gray parrot named "Spaetzie."

Spaetzie floats along in her yellow travel bag, with plenty of ventilation, taking in the view.

"We lay on our board and explore, which is one of the nice things about a paddleboard,” Dawn shared.

While exploring the mangroves, Paige introduces paddlers to Florida's aquatic life. On the night we visited, this jelly fish hovered near the water's surface. While you too can just float.

"I think it just cleans your soul up.  I think it makes you appreciate life. And it shuts all the outside noise out,” Paige said.

Know Before You Go:
Paige says you need to know your own dog's abilities.  Make a reservation here.

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