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Kayaking in Cocoa Beach

Kayaking in Cocoa Beach has been dominated for years by six companies, but now SUP Eco Adventures is looking to change this.  The use of the Thousand Islands area in Cocoa Beach has been regulated for years by the Cocoa Beach City Council.  The current regulations only allow for five Kayak companies to operate in the southern half of the Thousand Islands area.  This has limited the number of Kayak companies who have access to this natural area of Cocoa Beach. 

Recently, SUP Eco Adventures filed franchise application with the City of Cocoa Beach to expand its operation.  The franchise application sought to expand the currently regulated six kayak companies to also allow one stand up paddle Board Company to operate in the Thousand Island area.  The franchise application was filed in early 2011, and was brought before two Cocoa Beach City Council sub committees.  One sub-committee approved limited launching rights into the Thousand Islands area, whereas the second sub-committee (the Land Commission), stated it needed to rewrite the franchise process. 

SUP Eco Adventures is looking to start operating out of the Thousand Islands area of Cocoa Beach for two reasons.  The first is the area provides a protected area in which to stand up paddle board.  Kayak companies have known this for years.  The mangroves in the Thousand Islands area provide kayakers fantastic wind protection, while still allowing them to paddle in the Indiana River Lagoon.  The second reason SUP Eco Adventures is seeking entry into Thousand Islands is for the ease of access.  Although, SUP Eco Adventures currently launches for an amazing location, which is secluded and a Florida historical landmark, Honest John’s is about a 30 to 40 minute drive from many hotels in Cocoa Beach.  This is an easy drive down A1A, with the ocean on one side and the river on the other side; many in Cocoa Beach do not want to make the drive.

SUP Eco Adventures is currently attempting to determine the status of the franchise application.  The kayak companies have had their franchise agreement approved year after year without any question.  A kayak company’s franchise agreement is written as a yearly agreement which will need to be resubmitted annually, reviewed and approved every year by the City of Cocoa Beach.  For years, kayak companies have not followed this standard, and although their franchise agreement calls for annual review, they have been locked in for the past seven years.  This lock has allowed them to operate as they wanted without worrying about customer service or other kayak companies providing a better product.  Now, after six months of attempting to work with the City of Cocoa Beach to expand their current kayak activities in the Thousand Islands area, all work is at a standstill.  Members of the city council are not returning phone calls or emails and SUP Eco Adventures franchise application to allow Stand Up Paddle boarding in Cocoa Beach’s Thousand Islands is being ignored. 

For now, kayaking in the City of Cocoa Beach is limited to six kayak companies who have a lock on the system.  Thanks to the Cocoa Beach City Council not willing to move forward with dealing with its own regulations, stand up paddle boarding is currently not something that tourist in Cocoa Beach will be able to experience. 

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