Editor’s Note: We spoke with Paige Bakhaus, the owner of Hooked on SUP with two waterside locations at Don Pedro Island State Park and Stump Pass Beach State Park. Please call 941-504-1699.
Paige, please tell our readers a little bit about your business.
We are a standup paddleboard and kayak rental and eco-tour company. We’ve been in business since 2011, and all of our guides are certified instructors and Florida Master Naturalists. We even have Yoga on Water (YOW) paddleboard classes. We also sell Yolo Paddleboards and SUP accessories such as Quickblade paddles.
Tell our readers more about your guided trips?
We offer fun and educational guided tours from Don Pedro Island State Park and Stump Pass Beach State Park, and in Boca Grande. Our tours are from 2-3 hours and one even includes a picnic lunch on the beach. Don Pedro Island is our most popular tour and destination. The island section of the park can only be reached by kayak, paddleboard or private boat. We go through mangrove tunnels to a hidden lagoon full of starfish and sponges. the shark tooth hunting and shelling there are out of this world.
What are the qualifications of your guides and what does a lesson include?
Our guides are Paddle Fit Level 3 and World Paddle Association Class 1 with training as Florida Master Naturalists. They are also CPR and First Aid certified. The lessons fit each person’s skill level and interests. Topics include safe paddling protocol, water safety, and boating rules and regulations. We teach beginners and even professionals who want to improve their technique for racing or long-distance paddling.
What’s some of the wildlife people can encounter in our local waterways?
So many species of birds and marine life including dolphins, manatees, starfish, stingrays, a variety of fish, sponges, live shells, and more. Being on the water is not just inspiring, but it’s all great exercise.
Where are you originally from?
I’m from Georgia and I’ve always been a water baby. I lived on a houseboat on Lake Lanier in the Atlanta area for many years. I also lived on St. Simons Island on the South Georgia coast six years before moving here in 2008.
Paige, what do you enjoy most about your business?
I love when guests are excited about encountering marine life and other species. Seeing these amazing animals in their natural environment instead of a cage or aquarium is an enriching experience for people of all ages. People protect what they love, so it’s a good feeling to know we are helping more people to feel connected to our precious environment.