CHASING WAVES & PASSIONS
In 2006 Esther started kayaking. Joined by a friend, Wayne Albert, who would become her life partner and a fine and accomplished kayaker in his own right, Esther found watersports above the surface of the sea. Thanks to Miles McDermott and his Miami Kayak Club, great instructors from the old Kayak Jeff's in Dania Beach (Lissette and Michael) the would be couple started their journey into paddlesports. Trips were last minute, instruction was limited, available equipment was outdated and inadequate. Despite the best efforts of Kayak Jeff his small shop only lasted a few years before the economy tanked. But Esther and Wayne still loved to kayak. Paddle boards had just entered the scene back then too. Surfskis were making a comeback. It was a great time to help grow the sport they had come love. The amazing people they met along the way served to further ignite this passion.
In 2012 Esther opened The Paddle House. An unexpected visit from an entourage from Shake-A-Leg Miami opened opportunities to offer tours from a set location and help a worthwhile organization. This was the beginning of a social enterprise.
Same Passion, Same People, New Era
The Paddle House closed its doors in the Spring of 2015. However, it was not until Summer of 2015 that Esther opened the Virginia Key Outdoor Center, with a mission to connect urban dwellers to the great Florida outdoors. She didn't want another rental concession with ill fitting kayaks and paddleboards or oversized life jackets. Esther didn't want to offer marginal instruction and a hap-hazardous experience. So off we go to build a legacy. Since opening its doors in 2015, VKOC offers top quality rentals of kayaks, paddleboards, surfskis, and bicycles.
Esther has made plenty of friends since opening the original Paddle House in 2012. Some of those friends are members of the Historic Virginia Key Park Trust! After much deliberation and consideration, The Paddle House is making a come back! Paddleboard and Kayak rentals will be available inside the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park. Come discover Virginia Key!