Florida on a Tankful: Escaping the hustle and bustle of the city via paddleboard

By Bailey Myers, Spectrum News Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, December 21, 2017, 3:57 PM EST

If you need to find a place to unwind but the beach is out of the question, there's a place tucked away in downtown Orlando bordered by Winter Park that helps people relax and heal.

For many, Lake Killarney is like a secret hideaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The lake is surrouned by I-4, Lee Road, Fairbanks Avenue, and U.S. Highway 17/92.  However, those busy thoroughfares don't intrude on the paddleboarding experience, and it's that experience that is actually helping people from all walks of life.

Jessica Melger is an Afghanistan war veteran.  Melger struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but finds stability while balancing on the lake with her friends at Paddleboard Orlando.

"I do struggle with depression," said Melger.  "I know thatif I just get in the car, load up my paddle board, and get to the lake... all of that goes away."

The clear water that the lake holds year round provides clarity in more ways than one.  First, though, you have to get up that paddleboard.

The actual process is broken down into three components:  position, posture, paddle.  A guide will help you work out the basics on land before you venture out into the water.  It's when you get into the water that you find what the lake truly has to offer.

"There are four natural springs on this lake, three of which have active ground water moving," said Ned Johnson, a guide with Paddleboard Orlando.  Johnson enjoys seeing the response by people after they get the hang of the board.

"When I look at people and I see that they are stressed or they are locked in their schedules, I love giving people an opportunity to escape, even for just a little while."

Paddleboard Orlando is open for group tours and provides fitness classes during the summer months.