man surfing on sanibel and captiva island

Surfing, Bodyboarding, and Paddleboarding: What’s Best On Sanibel Island? 

In one corner, surfers, in a deep spiritual connection to the boards they use to scale and soar through the waves with peaceful focus. In another corner, are bodyboarders; who love the thrill of the big waves and the pursuit of the perfect flow. Finally, in the center of the ring, the paddle boarders, confused as to why there is a competition at all as they glide gracefully stop the water at a reasonable speed.

It is fun to debate the merits of these three methods of enjoying the waves and the water. Which one is “best” is a moot question. They are all fun! But which one should you partake in during your beach vacation?


Most water enthusiasts are familiar with surfing. The sport is easy to learn the basics of, but incredibly difficult to master. Surfers use mid to long-sized boards as they chase waves which are further out from shore. Surfing is wonderful due to its accessibility. The boards also come in many different styles, ranging from 100-pound boards to 180-pound eight-foot monsters.


It is worth noting that bodyboarding is often considered a type of surfing style. There are two main differences with typical surfing. The first is the use of fins. Riders wear swim fins to propel them through the water. The second is the shape of the board. Bodyboards are smaller than surfboards, with square noses and a softer frame.

The use of fins and the shape of the board dictate how bodyboarders surf the waves. Bodyboarders are also prone to flipping in the air and doing other aerial stunts. They are also more likely to chase shore breaks and super hollow waves, both inaccessible to most surfers who need space to navigate and glide.

What is the difference between bodyboard and boogie boarding? There is no difference? The terms are the same, and some prefer the more playful fun of boogie boarding.

Family-friendly bodyboarding in Sanibel and Captiva Island
Photo from Unsplash


Surfing just may be too scary to start and bodyboarding way too fast. Paddleboarding may be more your speed. Anyone looking for a nice and quiet romp over the water will enjoy this sport. Paddleboarders typically have riders stand and paddle with a single board, from one side to the next. The boards are massive and designed to stay afloat and straight, so you shouldn’t have any problems standing with a little practice.

You can rent paddleboards from Sanibel Paddleboarding. You may also reach out to Yolo Board Adventures. They offer many services, such as lessons, rental drop-off, and specialized ecotours. These eco-tours take you to some of the quietest escapes near Captiva and Sanibel Islands.

Family-friendly paddleboarding in Sanibel and Captiva Island
Photo from Unsplash

Plan Your Trip!

With endless watersports to enjoy, you’ll never be bored during your next Sanibel or Captiva Island adventure! Book your rental now and prepare to get near all the fun!

Where to Get in the Water?

No matter which one you choose, there’s plenty of opportunities to get wet. Buck Key is one of the best places for any kind of water activity off Captiva Island.

Also, the coast is covered in possible beach access points. Some of these include Tarpon Beach, Coquina Beach, and Bandy Beach.

To help make matters easier, you can take advantage of the benefits of our vacation rentals near Sanibel & Captiva Islands. We can help guide you to the closest kayak or surfboard rental providers. You can potentially carry any beach gear right off into the water from your rental. Some of our properties sit right by the water, only a few feet from the cascading waves.

There’s no end to the fun things in Sanibel & Captiva Islands, Florida, whether you are gliding in the water or dining at a local café. Contact us for more details about any of the possible activities, in the water or otherwise, on your planned vacation.