Tourism winter Haven Florida

Owner Audrey Nettlow Shares the Paddleboard Winter Haven Experience

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Audrey Nettlow was looking for a change in career after her youngest child left for college. She considered what she was passionate about, and the answer led her to paddling.

Now, over a year later, Nettlow has turned her passion into a profession and offers lessons, tours, PaddleFit classes, fishing trips, rentals and sales through her very own business, Paddleboard Winter Haven, which will turn a year old in May.

Nettlow offers feedback on her experience.

How did you get started in this industry, and is this the path you started down?

I started stand up paddle boarding about four years ago, then did a lot of research on everything from strokes, races, board designs and composition, teaching styles, fitness techniques, and the list goes on. I got re-certified in CPR/First Aid and PaddleFit and WPA certified. I have a BS degree from the University of Florida in Food Science and Nutrition and was previously a licensed microbiologist, massage therapist, fitness instructor, and clinic administrator.

Why the location?

We like to highlight the Chain of Lakes. I live here and believe that the Chain of Lakes is a unique and incredible asset to Winter Haven.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Being on the water and sharing it with others. I meet the nicest people and have amazing experiences like having a whole flock of white pelicans land right in front of our group!

Why should people participate in Paddleboard Winter Haven?

It’s fun, it’s fun, and it’s fun. It can be relaxing and beautiful, a really hard work out, an incredibly close experience with nature, a team building or family bonding experience, a fun ladies day out, birthday party or so much more.

We also offer ‘Day Away’ trips to places like Weedon Island, Shell Island, Rainbow River, Silver River, and more. Photos, fun, and adventure are included with every trip.

What is the ultimate goal of Paddleboard Winter Haven?

Ultimate goal – to provide every great experience we do now here in Winter Haven – and to expand into adventure travel across the state of Florida. Imagine a vacation where you paddle both coasts and a couple of crystal clear rivers in between. What a beautiful way to see Central Florida!

What makes your business different from others?

It’s personal. I will rent boards but much prefer to take groups out myself or with someone who is equally trained. There is a big difference between paddle boarding and paddle boarding correctly. A great stroke changes the outcome. Sharing interesting facts about our ecology, waterbirds, and of course alligators and snakes lets people become more connected with our area. It’s also a great way for people to try out different boards before they choose one to buy. I love this sport so much and love to share it!

Nettlow describes paddleboarding as, “…a feeling that is hard to describe; water lapping against the board, gentle wind, warm sun, beautiful ecology, nesting Great Blue Herons and Ospreys, turtles popping their little heads up out of the water, etc. It’s just good for your soul.”

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