Something in the water

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BY KATE LEHNHOF • ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVE BLACKHURST, utahvalley360.com

Whether it’s a jaunt down the Provo River, an afternoon at Utah Lake, a dip in the backyard pool or tearing down a towering waterslide, Utah Valley is dripping in H20 adventures.

On the next 7 pages you can read up on the cool new water sports, gaze at some impressive backyard pools and fill up on fun water facts and statistics.

Something in the water? You bet there is.

A River Runs Through It

Beat the summer heat and take in some superb scenery with a rafting trip down the Provo River. These handy tips will have you riding rapids like a pro. 

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Time It Right

For novices, the best time to hit the river is during July and August when the current is nice and easy — and the weather is warmest. Even on the most sweltering summer days, the water temperature is fairly chilly at around 40 to 50 degrees.

Start Smart 

The best place to start floating Provo River is just below Deer Creek Reservoir.  Plan to get out at Vivian Park, says Gardner Kearsley, manager of Outdoors Unlimited.

This stretch of the river is scenic, smooth and avoids the diversion dam just below Vivian Park. Gardner also recommends novice riders get out of the water and walk on the shore when they approach the train trestle about halfway down the river.

Safety First

Utah laws require those rafting in the Provo River to wear lifejackets, and the Utah County Sheriff’s Department does patrol the river issuing tickets. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Raft It Up

If you are going to brave the river, the first thing you’ll need to do is rent or borrow a raft.

Outdoors Unlimited (outdoors.byu.edu) rents rafts that seat two to 10 people.

If you like the idea of a guided river trip, check out High Country Adventure for various packages (highcountryadventure.com). They offer moonlight river tours, and the popular “Raft ‘n’ Rails” package includes a train ride from Midway to Deer Creek Reservoir, followed by a trip down the river.

 Consider A Kayak

“Kayaks are a great way to experience the river because they are a happy medium between a raft and a tube,” says Sean Myers, of High Country Adventure. “You have some control with paddles, but you can stay out of the cold water. And Provo River is an ideal river to learn on.”

The Bretschneiders share their fabulous pool with friends, neighbors and the community as they host parties and charity events like a Halloween bash for the Utah Food Bank.  Pool was constructed by Hatfield Homes and Advanced Pools.

The Bretschneiders share their fabulous pool with friends, neighbors and the community as they host parties and charity events like a Halloween bash for the Utah Food Bank. Pool was constructed by Hatfield Homes and Advanced Pools.

Cool Pools

Swimming pools are the ultimate summer hangout spot. They provide refreshment, relaxation and a reprieve from sizzling summer temperatures. Here are two local backyard pools that have us blue with envy. 

Cool Pool #1

Ken and Patrice Bretschneider, Lindon

The Bretschneiders built this stunning pool because the entire family loves to swim.

“I grew up in Port Dover, Ontario, Canada, which was a beach and fishing village so I did a lot of swimming,” Ken says. “And my wife lived in Florida for two years so she loves swimming and water sports, too. My daughters are all just natural fish.”

Ken and Patrice worked with the builder to design a custom pool they enjoy all year long. The special features are endless! Some of the highlights include the vanishing edge, a wading pool, LED lights in every color of the rainbow, custom rock and tile, underwater speakers, and a floating hot tub located in the middle of the  pool that is heated by a separate pump.

The most convenient feature? Ken can control the water temperature from an app on his iPhone.

Cool Pool #2

Nick and Suzanne Mecham, Mapleton

The Mechams’ pool might be compact, but it packs a watery punch. The 7,000-gallon pool has a wading shelf, a waterslide and a waterfall.

“We love having the pool because it’s a place where our kids can hang out, and we’ve had some really fun neighborhood parties with it,” Nick says.

 

Dave Patterson catches some air wakeboarding in Jordanelle Reservoir.

Dave Patterson catches some air wakeboarding in Jordanelle Reservoir.

Get On Board 

Who says there is nothing new under the sun? These three up-and-coming water sports are making waves in the water world. Come on in, the water is fine. 

Stand-up Paddleboarding

What It Is

Stand-up paddleboards are supersized surfboards ranging from 9 to 12 feet in length. Riders stand upright on the board and use a long paddle to move in the water.

 

Why It’s Awesome

Paddleboarding is a killer workout that strengthens core muscles.

“When you are trying to keep your balance and steady yourself on the board, you use your arms, back and abs,” says Nate Steele, local paddleboarding enthusiast. “It’s a great way to get out in the water without too much trouble. You don’t need a boat. Just the board and a paddle.”

 

Where To Do It

Utah Lake, Deer Creek Reservoir, Jordanelle Reservoir, Provo River

 

Dave Patterson catches some air wakeboarding in Jordanelle Reservoir.

Dave Patterson catches some air wakeboarding in Jordanelle Reservoir.

Wakesurfing

What It Is

Wakesurfers use a skimboard (a smaller, sleeker version of a surfboard) to ride a boat’s wake. The boat travels at a slower speed of about 10 mph, and the rider is close behind the boat at about 10 to 25 feet.

 

Why It’s Awesome

“You can just cruise and relax, or you can make it exciting with different grabs and flips,” says Troy Mann, owner of M&M Watersports in Springville.

Wakesurfing puts less stress on the body than other water sports like wakeboarding.

“We are seeing it become very popular with young guys in their 20s and the 35-plus crowd,” Troy says. “People in Utah County are really starting to get into it. Our skimboard sales have doubled every year for the past five years.”

 

Where To Do It

Utah Lake, Deer Creek Reservoir, Jordanelle Reservoir

 

KITEBOARDING

What It Is

Kiteboarders stand on a small surfboard or wakeboard that is propelled by wind power from a large kite. They start on the ground, and once their kite gets flying they move into the water on their board.

 

Why It’s Awesome

Thrill seekers love the adrenaline rush that comes from harnessing the powerful combination of wind and water in this extreme sport.

“Kiteboarding is super fun and you’d be surprised how powerful the wind can get out here,” Troy says. “You’ll definitely want to get lessons or go with someone who knows what they are doing the first time you try it.”

 

Where To Do It

Utah Lake, Deer Creek Reservoir, Jordanelle Reservoir

The “Free Fall” water slide at Seven Peaks stands 100 feet tall. Other sky-high water slides include the “Jagged Edge” and the “Speed Breaker.”

The “Free Fall” water slide at Seven Peaks stands 100 feet tall. Other sky-high water slides include the “Jagged Edge” and the “Speed Breaker.”

Take Five! 

Thirsty for some adventure this summer? These five fun-soaked water activities will take you from nature’s playground of lakes and reservoirs to the valley’s best man-made water meccas. 

Head For The Hills

The hills of Rock Canyon Park are the perfect site for a giant slip ‘n’ slide. Don’t forget to bring dishwashing soap to get your slide nice and slick.

 

Feeding Frenzy

Salem Pond is home to hungry ducks who want your bread! Take the kids for a stroll along the shore and make some feathered friends.

 

Board Silly

Whether you are a waterskiing enthusiast, a wakeboard guru or something in between, Utah Valley has great spots nearby where you can get your board on. Try Deer Creek Reservoir, Jordanelle Reservoir and the classic Utah Lake.

 

Catch a Wave

The FlowRider at Provo Beach Resort simulates ocean-like waves that surf enthusiasts and wannabes ride to their heart’s content. Hang ten!

 

Have A Free-For-All

The “Free Fall” slide at Seven Peaks Waterpark stands 100 feet tall and gives daredevils the slippery thrill they crave.

 

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Kate Lehnhof Nash first joined Bennett Communications as a summer intern in 2009. Now, as an associate editor, she writes for magazines including Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Bride and Prosper. Kate lives in Springville with her husband Steve and enjoys running, reading, sushi and her french bulldog, Chief.

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