Master Guides

Paddle Boarding Through a Mangrove Labyrinth

Paddle Boarding Through a Mangrove Labyrinth

This summer, I’m taking my GLIDE paddle board all over Florida. In this article, I will be revisiting my experience at Weedon Island Preserve, in St. Pete. Here’s the thing, though… I drive a Toyota Corolla and transporting a full-sized paddle board is, well, impossible.

Is it, though?

Inflatable paddle boards (iSUP for short) are taking the world by storm, and for good reason. Inflatable paddle boards are a fraction of the size and offer almost the same in terms of performance. My iSUP fits conveniently in the back of my trunk, so I don't have to worry about it until it is time to blow it up and put it in the water.

Outdoor Master iSUP Pump!

While it is possible to blow up an iSUP with a hand pump, I recommend using an electric one. Speaking from personal experience, an electric iSUP pump saves time and effort, especially if you plan on pumping up more than one paddle board.

The SHARK II ELECTRIC SUP PUMP is the best paddleboard pump in America. This portable paddle board pump is easily stored in your car or with your paddle board gear, and can be accessed whenever it is needed to blow up a paddle board. Ditch the tedious, arm-tiring pumping, and let the Outdoor Master Shark do the pumping for you!

During my journey through the mangroves at Weedon Island Preserve, I rode a GLIDE O2 Retro Inflatable SUP, which was perfect for quick maneuvers and tight-angled turns in the thick of the mangroves.

Paddle Boarding Weedon Island Preserve

The paddling trails in Weedon Island Preserve are a maze of twists and turns beneath the cover of thick mangrove trees. I forgot to bring sunscreen, which is normally a big no-no, but under the branches of the mangroves, I could enjoy paddle boarding in the cool shade of the afternoon. Without the bright sun bouncing off the surface of the water and into my eyes, I could enjoy my surroundings, the wildlife, the quiet trails, and the leisurely pace of paddling through the mangroves.

This was my first time at Weedon, and something I learned fast is that there is not a lot of standing to be done. Beneath the mangroves, there is not a lot of room for standing on your paddle board. This makes Weedon an ideal place for kayakers. Fortunately, I equipped my paddle board with a seat, so I could sit down and paddle without poking my eye out on a twig. Additionally, I recommend bringing an adjustable paddle, that way you can shorten it when in the mangroves and lengthen it when in areas where you can stand.

Weedon Island Preserve is a great place to bring an inflatable paddle board. I was scared the roots of the mangroves would damage my paddle board, but that was far from the truth. My GLIDE paddle board is very durable and the roots, though stationary, are not sharp whatsoever. I recommend bringing a smaller paddle board because the trails, especially during low tide, can get quite narrow. These areas required more precision paddling. I visited the preserve during low tide and often got stuck on a root or in the sand, which shouldn’t happen during high tide.

Weedon Island Preserve is an awesome place for beginner and advanced paddle boarders alike. I will definitely be going again, but next time I will make sure to check the tide and make sure I go during high tide. The preserve is large and may take several hours to paddle through the entire thing. I recommend bringing lots of water, bug spray, and sunscreen. This is an ideal location to bring young kids because much of the preserve is shielded from the sun and the water is not too deep (waist-high in most areas). The preserve is also an ideal location for fishing!

Don’t own a paddle board? That’s fine! Weedon Island Preserve has several rental options where visitors can rent paddle boards and kayaks for the day. Just make sure to bring your own Outdoor Master iSUP pump to make the process easier!

My favorite aspect of Weedon Island Preserve was how easy everything was. From getting my paddle board in the water to enjoying the shade of the mangroves, this paradise is worth making the drive. The mangroves are home to countless species, not to mention thousands of little crabs that like to hang out on the branches and roots. As the weather continues to get hotter here in Florida, I’ll be visiting Weedon more to enjoy its cool waters and convenient shade.

Paddle Boarding Checklist

Before launching into your next paddle-boarding excursion, make sure you have everything you need to survive and thrive while gliding on top of the water.

  1. Dry bag - Keeping your valuables, like your phone or wallet, is a necessity, and the best way to do so is by using a dry bag. The Outdoor Master dry bag will keep all your valuable items safe, even if the bag is fully submerged in the water! 
  2. Goggles - Kids love to swim, but the salt water of the ocean is sure to make their eyes sting. Our swim goggles, for kids and adults, will make sure eyes stay safe and can look at all the beautiful things under the water.
  3. iSUP Pump - An inflatable paddle board pump makes everything easier. At Outdoor Master, we have multiple options. Check them out HERE.
  4. Sunglasses - Protect your eyes from the harsh sun! The Outdoor Master Hawk Sunglasses will do the job and make you look sporty at the same time.


Here at Outdoor Master, our motto is #DoWhatYouBelieve. Whether you are skiing in the mountains of the French Alps or paddle boarding near the beaches of the Bahamas, we want to make sure you are stocked and ready for your adventures. From outdoor products to stories, we are here to inform and equip you with everything you need. Make sure to follow us on social media and tag us in your next awesome adventure!