Paddle boarding is a summer favorite water sport and there are plenty of great places to do it in Utah Valley! We are pleased to share the insider information we received from local paddle boarding expert Pascal Braun. Pascal is with SUP Rentals Utah and offers a lot of insight with his experience in this Question and Answer post.
Question: What are some of your favorite places to paddle board in Utah Valley?
Answer: Utah Valley offers a lot of great areas to paddle board for all levels of riders. There are more commonly known places, such as our local reservoir parks that our Utah Valley cities have created, to more hidden gems. Some favorites include mountain lakes along the Nebo Loop and American Fork Canyon, Payson Lakes, Maple Lake, Salem Ponds, the underrated freshwater lake Utah Lake, and so much more.
For those looking for a little more adventure, the Provo River is my favorite place to ride, but I highly recommend having some paddle board experience before trying it as paddle boarding a river can be challenging.
Q: What sets Utah Valley paddle boarding locations apart from other locations?
A: The diversity of places we have to choose from. Be it a local lake, reservoir, mountain lake, or river, we have a ton of places to enjoy, all offering a different type of experience.
Q: You mentioned paddle boarding on the Provo River! Tell us what it's like to paddle board on a river?
A: Do we ever! As mentioned above, it is one of my favorite ways to paddle. It creates a unique level of challenge that is not present on still water, and every ride is different. When we first started riding rivers, we were one of a few handful of people 'testing' this new sport. Kayakers often looked at us like we were crazy as we loaded our boards in. But here we are years later, and it has become a common site.
To this day we are still trying to check off a 'new river' from our list at least once per year. All that being said, river riding does come with more risks, so be prepared, wear your safety gear (especially a life jacket), and make sure you have the experience and skills to navigate the river before throwing your board in.
Q: From where do you recommend renting equipment for paddle boarding?
A: There are many great shops in Utah for water equipment rental, all offering different gear and service. Our favorite is SUP Rentals Utah in Springville. They are an off water location so typically the deals are better than an on the water rental. They offer all sorts of hard and inflatable paddle boards that can be transported in any vehicle. If you are looking at the convenience of just dropping into the water, you can also do a personal tour with them, which will offer a unique experience and is tailored to the time of year and group size and skill.
Many of our state lakes also have shops right on the water, so if you are looking for the convenience of just showing up and hitting the lake, these are also great options. Typically you pay a little more for the convenience factor, but this is also a great way to do it!
Q: What is a favorite memory you have had when paddle boarding?
A: I will never forget the first time I paddle boarded. It was in Hawaii in the ocean, and it was such a blast. That was the day I was hooked. Never looked back.
Q: What is something most people do not know about paddle boarding?
A: It can be a great low impact, full body workout! Not only is it fun, but you are doing your body good at the same time. Tough to beat that combo!
Q: What should I bring for my paddle boarding experience/what should I wear?
A: Typically rental places provide everything you need other than the basics you should bring (swimwear, sunscreen, hat, water shoes); they will have you covered whether you're using a hard or inflatable stand up paddle board.
IF you are venturing out on your own there is one item you should NEVER FORGET: Your LIFEJACKET! Please, please, please - bring and wear your lifejacket! Water and weather in Utah can be unpredictable. Never underestimate mother nature. A lifejacket is the easiest way to protect you and your loved ones. It's not worth the risk not to wear it.
Q: Anything else I should know before heading out to paddle board? Best times of the year/day?
A: Most people head out in the heat of summer, because it is such a great way to cool off. But spring and fall are two of my favorite times of year to be out on the water. Less boats, less people, and beautiful scenery.
In the heat of summer the early mornings are also an amazing time to be out. The air is a little cooler, water is glass, little to no crowds, and typically winds are low (always check wind reports before going out on a larger paddle adventure). The serenity is just hard to beat on an early summer morning.
Q: For those who have never been, what would you say is a relatable skill? (For example, if I can snowboard, I can paddle board.)
A: First off, I think ANYONE can do this sport. The new boards are so stable and easy to use, we have a board that will fit anyone's skill level. But yes, if you skateboard, surf, snowboard, etc. you will catch on extremely fast.
Q: What would you say to someone who says "I cannot try paddle boarding, I am not coordinated." Do you have to be coordinated? Are there specific paddling techniques?
A: If you can shovel snow, you can paddle board. Haha. I really feel ANYONE can do it. Some basic balance, and ability to hold a paddle and move it back and forth is really all you need. It may take a little getting used to, but you can do it! The most common phrase I hear from first timers? "That was a lot easier than I thought it would be."
Q: Is paddle boarding best done in groups/families/alone?
A: It can be enjoyed any of these ways, but for safety, we always encourage finding a 'paddling buddy' and going in groups of 2 or more.
Q: Is there anything else you want to say?
A: Go out, explore, and make your adventure happen today! Tomorrow will always be tomorrow, so seize the day and enjoy your life. Grab a paddle, grab a buddy, and enjoy all the amazing waters that Utah has to offer!
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