In the 1980s, Doug and Julie Wagstaff had a vision: They saw people zipping around Heber Valley’s Deer Creek (not really a creek; more like a lake; but actually a reservoir) on boats and waverunners, paddling around in kayaks and on top of paddleboards, and they thought, “Hey, we should get paid to watch this!”
Okay, so that’s oversimplified to the point of being utterly inaccurate. What did happen was that the entrepreneurial Wagstaffs realized all of Deer Creek’s weekend water warriors represented a service that needed servin’. They started a watercraft rental company and got busy multiplying and replenishing their staff — nine kids and 27 grandkids later, they’re still keeping Deer Creek recreators afloat.
Located right on the water, Deer Creek Island Resort has everything a good time requires. You’ll just need to bring some common sense and a good attitude. Here are four ways to safely enjoy some time on the water.
No engines on these vessels, but you can look at it as a fun form of exercise. If you haven’t tried paddle boarding, you should. It’s trendy, but for a reason. A few coves at Deer Creek normally have fewer motorized watercrafts so they’re perfect for analog adventures.
Pro tip: Scientifically, paddling selfies are 78% better than regular selfies. Don’t let fear of phone damage keep you from all that Instagram approbation. Bring or borrow a proper dry bag, or just pack your phone in a Ziploc baggie or two.
A waverunner is a water version of an ATV that fits up to three people or 500 pounds, whichever comes first. So grab someone you won’t feel awkward spooning at high speeds and head out to explore Deer Creek.
Pro tip: Keep a safe distance from other watercrafts, but seek their wakes to make your ride more adventurous.
For groups, and for more fun, rent a boat. You won’t have to deal with the drama of deciding who has to stay on the shore. You can pull people around on wakeboards, water skis, or (for those that can’t get up on the aforementioned) a tube.
Pro tip: Go with a pro. Unlike with waverunners or paddleboards, it’s not a good idea to try to teach yourself how to drive a boat. Bring someone with experience to bail you out. Maybe literally.
Want to be hardcore? Give this a try. It’s like a surfboard with a jet engine on it. Kind of like a segway but way cooler, faster and for the water. Don’t worry, rentals come with instruction… and gas.
Pro tip: Have someone take video. The wrecks are hilarious.