Salt Lake City might be known for skiing, a Mormon temple, and green Jell-O, but it’s quickly becoming a hotbed for Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP). And the folks at AJ Motion Sports know SUP –– they have the gear, the expertise and the prices to get you started on what will surely become a go-to weekend activity.
AJ Motion Sports
As with anything, you gotta try it before you go crazy with investment and buy a paddle board for every member of the family because your neighbor did. For out-of-towners, no one checks a paddle board. Don't start that trend. AJ Motion Sports is located in Sandy and has a variety of board options and daily/weekly/monthly rental plans with the best rates in Utah. All boards are inflatable and there are plenty of models to choose from, so don’t fret if your Ford Focus doesn’t have a roof rack. Stop in and they'll outfit you with the perfect board for your size and level of experience. All rentals come with instruction, life jackets and even whistles.
Bonus: If you fall in love with paddle boarding (highly likely), AJ Motion Sports also sells new standard, yoga, touring, ultra-lite, and expedition boards at unbelievable prices.
After they set you up with the gear and the know-how, it's time to set out for a day of SUPer relaxing adventure.
So where should you go?
East Canyon State Park
East Canyon has been a favorite day trip and camping spot amongst Utahn’s since the 60’s. Speaking of the 60’s, wouldn’t stand-up paddleboarding have fit the hippy vibe? Peace, love, and paddleboarding. Anyhoo, we digress. The water is cold, but calm, and East Canyon can get busy on the weekends. But it’s super pretty and has some nice amenities for a picnic or overnight camping trip.
Antelope Island at the Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake is interesting. It’s big, salty, and generates a lot of intrigue, but not many people play on it. What a shame. We suggest grabbing a board or two from AJ Motion Sports and heading to Antelope Island to access the lake. You most likely won’t have to worry about crowds, and you might even spy a bison or two on the Island.
In this author’s humble opinion, the most underrated lake/reservoir in Utah. The scenery is stunning, there are large swim areas with sandy beaches, and it has great fishing –– yes, you can/should try fishing from your paddleboard. It does get busy, but rightfully so. Get there early and make a day of it.
Super easy to access, right off I-15. The water is warmer than most other destinations, and there’s plenty of space to spread out and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. If you’re into bird watching, there’s that too.
Jordanelle State Park
Jordanelle is one of the busiest reservoirs in the state, but they champion equality. Motorized and non-motorized patrons alike enjoy some pretty sweet amenities. For the beginner paddle boarders, there’s a spacious no wake area and even a courtesy dock for launching. Once you gain a little experience, you can venture out of the no-wake zone and take advantage of some of the waves the boats and personal watercrafts leave behind.
The recently renovated Tibble Fork up American Fork Canyon was made for SUPs (not true, but it sure seems that way). In 2016 it was doubled in size, a sandy beach area was added, and a dock was placed in the middle of the reservoir making it easier to get paddleboards and kayaks out into the water. Get up the canyon early, or make it an evening trip to avoid the crowds.
All credit for this one goes to the folks at AJ Motion Sports. I mean, we’re Utah.com and we’ve never written any content about Causey Reservoir. We’re ashamed, and sorry, but mostly grateful for the tip. What’s so special about Causey? No motorized watercraft is allowed. SUPer quiet and SUPer calm.