JaxBest: Trying out water sports in Jacksonville Beach

Reporter Ashley Harding teams up with River City Live's Rance Adams

Find out some new ways to enjoy the local waters.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, you know you have to take advantage of all it has to offer.

Every day, people head over to Jacksonville's beaches with surfboards, body boards, paddleboards, etc. But if you’re feeling a little adventurous, there are many fun ways to step out of your comfort zone.

For water sports enthusiast Max Schafer, the outrigger canoe is well worth the ride. 

“The outrigger is basically a surf ski or a kayak with two bars that come off the side of the boat to the eye level, which is a pontoon off to the side, which helps to stabilize you while you’re paddling," Schafer said.

Schafer explained the ins and outs to Morning Show reporter Ashley Harding and River City Live’s Rance Adams. Schafer said the outrigger canoe originated with the Polynesians. He said its popularity has taken off locally in the last few years. 

“We run across somebody. They like it, they introduce them into the sport. They start running with it,” Schafer said. “I’ve seen it probably double, triple locally in size probably in the last five years.” 

Before they knew it, Rance and Ashley were putting their skills to the test, way out in the surf. In an outrigger, two people paddle hard on each side, switch sides and catch some waves. 
Their instructor, Jaime Smyth, fell in love with the outrigger three years ago.

“I don’t know where it goes from here. I’m dreaming about a four-man outrigger with a sail on it,” Smyth said. “We just keep taking it to the next level -- and keeping the stoke alive.” 

With an outrigger, there is no denying the adrenaline high.

Speaking of being up high, there is no denying the joy that comes with hydro foiling.

It looks like a regular surfboard, but as water enthusiast Mike Pedigo said, it contains a wing that goes underwater. From there, he said, it creates a lift, making ways for a smooth ride along the surf.  

“I first saw it online and I said, ‘That is something that I have to do,’” Pedigo said. “It’s incredibly low resistance. Once you’re up and riding, it’s like -- I call it flying on a magic carpet.”

Next time you think about hitting all that ocean, consider trying something new. Ashley and Rance are glad they did.

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