Personal Power Catamarans with Riding The Waves – Editor’s Note: We spoke with Rachel Wells, the tour manager of Riding The Waves based at Skip’s Placida Marina at 1990 Placida Road. Learn more at RidingTheWaves.net; call 941-208-6442.
How did Riding The Waves come about?
Russ Pressly, his wife Cheryl and Art Jantzen began Riding The Waves in September 2016. After much research and testing of the personal catamarans, they concluded that guided tours of our local waterways would be fun, exciting and educational. The powerboats allow us to travel greater distances in a shorter period. They also provide quicker access to the area’s natural beauty.
What’s a personal power catamaran?
It’s a compact boat that seats two people side by side. Each boat has a 25-horsepower engine, which gives them plenty of pep. Designed for stability on the water, our catamarans have the maneuverability of an airboat with no chance of flipping. They combine comfort, safety and speed. We have 8 boats and we can accommodate up to 14 guests on a tour.
Where do you take guests and how long are the excursions?
We have many tour options that range between 1 and 3.5 hours. One of our destinations is the Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve. We travel along the Inter-Coastal Waterway as we make our way out to Stump Pass State Park. Depending on the tour, we will stop off at the beach to look for marine life and to do some shelling or make our way out onto the Gulf, where guests can have some fun exploring the open water.
What about specialty tours?
Every Friday night we offer a Twilight Sunset Tour from 4:30 to 8pm. We offer monthly specials posted on our website, Facebook and Instagram. We also offer early morning fly fishing and spin fishing tours. We can accommodate 3 boats on each fishing tour and we provide the necessary fishing license, tackle and bait.
Do you have to be an experienced boater? What about children?
The guide provides all the necessary training to operate the boat properly and safely. Guests receive hands-on training with the boat controls before we depart the dock. Children 5+ are welcome to ride along with an adult. Our boats are very safe and stable. We also provide life-vests for everyone.
How are customers responding?
The feedback from visitors and locals has been terrific.
What do you enjoy most about being a tour guide and naturalist?
I grew up on the water and know how important it is for visitors to experience the beauty and richness of our waterways. I always enjoy providing insights about our local ecology including the birds and marine life.