The ‘Kayak King’ raises the level of adventure

Kayaking in the Keys has become a pastime as common as fishing or happy hour. It is an inexpensive activity for any age to hit our shallow waters and enjoy the Keys’ natural beauty. Like a lot of watersports enthusiasts today, kayakers are finding new ways and different adventures to enjoy shallow water.

A.J. Rising is one guide taking kayaking to the next level. Owner of the Kayak Kings, Rising has developed out of the ordinary experiences for the kayak enthusiast to see the Keys in a new light, literally. “My goal is for customers to say that’s the best thing I’ve done in Key West,” said Rising.

Rising has created the “Get lit Up” adventure where dive lights are strapped to the bottom of kayaks for a nighttime tour of the Mangrove mazes. Rising said, “It’s like caving, you see everything.”

Sunrise is another favorite time. Rising refers to it as the most peaceful time in Key West and takes early morning tours out to Boca Grande Beach to watch the sunrise. If there is a full moon out, then all the better to get there before sunrise. Or discover the backcountry of Snipes or the new sand at Mud Key.

Kayak Kings is up for anything. Rising has taking clients out for catch and release shark fishing (but guests can also opt for the less dangerous snapper fishing). No tour suggestion is too extreme, and Rising himself is proof — he once kayaked around Key West in 30 mph gusts just to make sure he would be a good enough guide.

Resident Susan Horner has done all of Kayak Kings adventures. “A.J is very knowledgeable about wild life and astronomy — by far the most adventurous kayaking I’ve done. Seeing an eclipse, starting the day at Boca Chica — it’s worth it.”

Hailing from Arizona, Rising’s mother always said he should move to Key West. He’s taken to it like a kayak to water, and now has two locations, one at Cow Key Marina and the other at Simonton Beach’s Lagerheads. Rising is also developing Kayak camping trips and soon will be leading trips around Wisteria Island.  If it can be done by Kayak in the Keys, Rising’s going to make it happen. Visit


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