Choctawhatchee Bay Water Sports

“I DID IT! FINALLY!” The exhilaration echoed across Choctawhatchee Bay as I conquered my first wakeboarding attempt, riding the smooth water with the boat’s pull. Born and raised in Fort Walton Beach, I have saltwater in my veins and have loved everything about being in or on the water since I was a little girl. Now, as a full-time charter captain, my passion extends beyond fishing, embracing every opportunity to be on the water.

If you have every visited the Destin-Fort Walton Beach area before chances are you spent a lot of time on the beach, rented jet skis, been on a fishing charter, and rented a boat to go to crab island, all which are high lights of the area but have you ever explored the bayous that make up Choctawhatchee Bay or the intracoastal waterway that make up the Santa Rosa Sound? While the water isn’t crystal clear like crab island on an incoming tide, the protected waterways are still warm, calm, and a blast to explore with your family. Teens and tweens especially love to add a little adventure and enjoy the thrill of water sports. Everything But Fish is a locally owned private charter that looks to provide custom experiences that include as much or as little as you would like with an emphasis on adding some different adventures than normal.

What Water Sports are available?

We offer wakeboarding, tubing, and knee boarding, we find that the three options are the perfect mix for providing fun no matter your age or experience. Tubing is the most enjoyed activity of the three. This is a big inflatable tube with seats and handles that will be towed behind the boat at a safe and exhilarating pace. This is a one size fits all water sport that can be enjoyed by children and grandparents alike. The excitement you see on the kids’ faces while being pulled behind the boat is priceless and sure to make any parent smile.

Knee boarding is the next step up for those who have had fun tubing but are looking for something with a bit more of a challenge. Knee boarding is one board with a big strap for your legs and a hook on the front for the tow rope. This activity takes a bit of practice because you will start by lying down on the board holding on to the front, once your captain gets you to a comfortable speed, you will then scoot yourself up to your knees, strap your legs in, and then remove the tow rope from the hook to hold it with your hands so you can steer yourself left and right. You will be holding on with two hands and by changing the angles of them forward and backward you will be able to steer yourself. It may take a few tries to get a comfortable transition but when you do, you can enjoy much more position control and excitement than the tube.

Wakeboarding, the toughest of them all but also the most rewarding. A wakeboard is one long board with two boots you strap your feet into. You will jump in the water, board attached and tow rope in hand. Your captain will drive the boat to get the tow rope tight and in a straight line, once he’s there he will yell a loud, “Ready”, which is when you give him the thumbs up that you are indeed ready. Now comes the fun! Legs bent, laid back, arms straight, throttle engages, rope comes tight, and boom you fall! Well, that’s how my first experience went anyway! If you fall the captain will come back around for you, give you some further instructions, and repeat the process. Once again, “Ready” the captain yells out to me as I give the thumbs up, I simultaneously give myself a pep talk, “You got this!” Again, the motor engages, lines come tight, arms straight, legs bent, and up I go, “Whooo hooo, I DID IT, FINALLY” I got up and rode behind that boat for what seemed like 10 minutes, it was amazing, and I felt so accomplished! It was at that moment, I thought to myself, more people should try this! And you will be happy to know that once you get up once, it’s like riding a bike and you can get up repeatedly.

Is it safe?

Yes, safety always comes first. Every time our boat leaves the dock you will be in safe hands with a licensed and insured captain behind the helm. They have plenty of hours and experience handling boats and are required to get their first aid renewed every two years. We have strict rules our captains are required to follow when towing clients regarding speed and distance from objects such as docks and other vessels. Our captain will also assign one person on the boat to be the “lookout”, that way we always have eyes on the rider to let the captain knows if they have fallen off or would like to stop, in addition to the lookout, we have a rear-view mirror so the captain can see the rider while also looking forward. Everyone who participates in a water sport activity is required to wear a coast guard approved life vest and will get a breakdown of “ready” and “done” signals before jumping in the water.

What if we want to do something else after riding?

The options are endless, when you book a water sport trip with Everything But Fish, we are “Your friend with a boat.” So, why settle for the ordinary when you can infuse your beach vacation with a dash of adrenaline? Dive into the extraordinary with Everything But Fish and let the waters of Fort Walton Beach be your playground of adventure.