Las Olas Paddle Boards offers a new way to explore local waters.
A rainbow of boards frames the walls at Las Olas Paddle Boards. From satin and small to bamboo and big, some boards tower above the store guests, just inches from brushing the ceiling. They surround Tim Knight, the store’s owner, who despite the heavy rain streaming outside his shop’s doors, seems eager and optimistic.
The new store offers affordable, high-quality paddleboards for purchase or rent in a prime location off the Intracoastal, but when he started, Knight was running his business from a warehouse, taking orders online and by appointment. With success Knight started looking for a retail space where he could have face-to-face interactions with customers—his favorite part of the job.
“I love to take people out and show them how to properly do things and make sure they’re having a good time,” Knight says. “That’s what my customers have an appreciation for; just being with someone who has a passion for letting other people experience the sport.”
Knight had been living in Florida for a few years before realizing his relationship with the water was lacking. In an effort to connect with nature, he started researching paddleboards, quickly realizing their soothing qualities and the experiences they had to offer.
“It allowed me to get out into the water a lot more, and then it slowly started to progress and I wanted to pass my love of it on to other people,” Knight says.
His friends were always asking if they could borrow his paddleboard, so Knight started selling Red Paddle Co. boards, which are inflatable and better equipped for storage and transportation. Next, Knight added VESL boards, which come at the most economical price given their superb quality.
The boards, as well as the kayaks, are available for purchase or can be rented for use near the Riverwalk and New River areas.
“I get a lot of tourists who just want to see the beauty of Fort Lauderdale, which has the perfect mix of city life and the tropical, lush riverfront,” Knight says. “I also get a lot of locals who come in on the weekdays and weekends who just want to get outdoors and try something new.”
To really acquaint people with the waterways, Las Olas Paddle Boards offers tours of the city’s historic canals. The tours follow the sun’s stages across the river: day, sunset and night. These guided tours allow people to catch glimpses of manatees and iguanas; historic buildings and high rises; and even unbelievable sunsets coloring the sky behind the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
One of the most exciting features is the XL paddleboard, which has essentially been dubbed the “party board.” It seats anywhere from four to eight people and is frequently used for birthday, bachelor and bachelorette parties.
“You’ve got four to six people paddling and then you’ve got one person manning a radio and another person in charge of the cooler passing around drinks,” Knight says. “I’ll go out with them to photograph them and guide them, and a lot of times they end up on the sandbar, and we have an anchor for it so they can hang out and lay
Knight won’t comment about the crazy things he’s seen during those parties, but you can tell something comes to mind from his smile.
“What happens at Las Olas Paddle Boards, stays at Las Olas Paddle Boards,” he says.
Las Olas Paddle Boards, 514 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale / 954.848.4189 / lasolaspaddleboards.com