It is one of the most popular vacation spots in the United States and also a perfect spot for SUP lovers. In Miami, Florida, there’s wildlife and sea landscapes that will make you want to stay. Born in Miami and a big fan of the California brand Infinity, Elizabeth Corzo-Ruiz aka “Lizi” gives us the SUP tour of Miami!
Hello Lizi, can you introduce yourself and tell us about your history of Stand Up Paddling?
Hi I’m Lizi from Miami, Florida. I have been paddling since 2012. I was introduced to paddleboarding through a groupon and loved the workout I got from it. Soon after I competed in my first race The Key West Paddle Classic. There was no looking back from then on I was hooked. Back then I was a pretty competitive Florida sup racer nowadays I’m more of a soul SUPer. Mainly paddling for fitness and searching for wildlife. Recently I got an Infinity Blackfish and it has reinspired me to get back into race shape. My goal is to be racing again in 2022. Just enjoying the journey for now.
What is your relationship with Miami?
I was born and raised in Miami. I love every aspect of this city. There is always something to do whether on land or by sea. I learned to swim before I could walk. Every weekend my parents would either take me fishing, snorkeling, diving, etc. We always were by the water and still are. They are the reason why I love the ocean so much. Paddleboarding took my love of the ocean to a different level because it allowed me to enjoy it from a very different perspective.
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What are the weather conditions like throughout the year?
We get summer conditions pretty much year-round. In the winter it gets chilly here and there. Winter is the best time of the year to do downwinders across Biscayne bay. Depending on the wind direction the routes can be from 5 miles to 13 miles. The wind is usually brought on by cold fronts.
What are the best spots for SUP race training, SUP surfing, Downwinding, and Wingfoiling?
- The best place for SUP race training is Virginia Key. Every Saturday there is a group of us that makes this 6.3 mile rounding. It is awesome because you get all types of conditions.
- From strong currents, waves, technical flat shallow water Virginia Key tests all of your skills. Mentally and physically.
- Miami doesn’t really have a great spot for SUP Surfing but every once in a while we get lucky. Cold fronts are our best chance to get some nice SUP Surf waves.
- Biscayne Bay has some of the best Downwinders depending on the wind angle.
- The best place for winging is the northside of Virginia Key. You could say Virginia Key is pretty much the best place to do a little of everything.
What are the main water sports events in Miami?
Nish Pombo occurs every November. Covid forced us to cancel it in 2020. Hopefully, it will be back this year. It is an extra special race to me as it has Andres Pombo‘s name on it. He was a very good friend that we lost when he went downwinding in the gorge. Since then we have partnered with this race to raise funds for the Special Olympics 305sup team. A program he helped develop.
Orange Bowl used to be a huge race for paddleboarding when it was held in January. It is still around but participation has declined since they moved the event to the summer.
What’s the local SUP community like?
The Miami community is more of a fitness-oriented community. We are known as the Cocoplum Navy (CPN). It is just a group of us that are passionate about SUP racing and we go as hard as we can every weekend. We push each other to get better. Many years ago we used to race a lot but now we have taken a more low-key approach.
Where would you rent your SUP and Foil gear or take classes?
Adventure sports in Coconut Grove is an awesome place to rent gear and take classes. They actually just had an awesome wing foiling demo. That is a new sport that is taking off here.
Virginia Key Outdoor center is a great place for recreational paddling and there are plenty of Manatees around. Matheson Hammock Park is also a great place for sup rentals. They also do kite lessons out of there.
And as a tourist, what thing to do and places to see in and around Miami would you recommend?
I recommend Matheson Hammock for paddling, kiting and it is also great for a nice bike ride. Good chance of seeing a manatee in the winter months. There’s Virginia Key outdoor center for paddling and it is a great place to see manatees and other wildlife. Then Morningside Park is great for paddling and it is a beautiful place to just go for a walk. And Virginia Key Hobbie Beach is the starting point to launch for the VK rounding. You see a lot of runners, bikers, etc. This is the mecca for outdoor sports enthusiasts.
I also recommend some touristy places like Wynwood Walls, South Beach South Pointe Park, and Pinecrest Gardens.