As the paddleboarding craze continues to sweep the nation, Ibis Bay Resort in Key West is pioneering a new twist on the popular water sport. Imagine gliding along the shallow water of Ibis Bay after dark, with waterproof LED light bars illuminating the sea creatures beneath your board.
Dubbed 'nightboarding,' the activity debuted in February 2013 and is offered exclusively through Ibis Bay Paddle Sports. Nightboarding allows visitors to witness the bay come alive after hours and get a close encounter with marine life. Nightboarding at Ibis Bay — Photo courtesy of Ibis Bay
Set your own pace, stand up, or even sit down (if you need a break) on the surf-like board and spot stone crabs, lobster, starfish and jellyfish. Some small fish are even attracted to the light, but don’t be afraid if an unexpected visitor hops up onto your board.
The tour guides groups to deeper water where they can cruise along a steep shelf teeming with sponges, coral, and fish – you may even spot a small shark or octopus. Lie down and stare up at the stars as the world peacefully floats by. Or, try out a glass bottom kayak which also provides an illuminated window into the world beneath us.Nightboarding and kayaking — Photo courtesy of Ibis Bay
On the way back, slip past a mangrove island that is home to egrets, ibis and pelicans and listen to the birds in their natural habitat. The guide will take high-definition photos as complimentary souvenirs of the experience.
Two different tour times are offered – one that includes views of the sunset from the water and a second that launches shortly after dusk. Either tour makes for a unique alternative to the typical Key West nightlife and provides a chance to feel the magic of the Florida Keys’ ecosystem.