Discover the world of stand-up paddle boarding in Lake of the Ozarks
The first time Lisa and David Bertel failed at stand-up paddleboarding, they were hooked. They tried, they failed, they splashed and they stood right back up.
“It is one of those sports that if you try it, you love it, you live it, you want to do it all the time,” Lisa Bertel said. “Every so often you find someone who says it’s just OK. We tried it, and that was it—that was the end. This is what we want to do.”
So much so that the Bertels started a business out of stand-up paddleboarding.
Years ago on the beautiful Lake of the Ozarks, they saw a stranger on a blowup board. They thought it looked fun, even though Lisa says she’s not particularly adventurous. A friend in Florida, where they live for part of the year, had a pair of boards and offered them to Lisa and Dave. Lisa, only 5’1” and petite, stood up quickly. Dave, 6’2”, took a while—but he loved the challenge, and soon he was up too. This was in November 2012; by May of 2013, Super Dave’s Paddle Craft Adventures was up and running.
“This is more than just earning a living at the lake,” Lisa Bertel said. “This is our passion and we want to share it. Once we started this, we said, ‘Let’s teach it.’ Our biggest goal is to get people to try stand-up paddleboarding, to introduce it to the Midwest.”
Lisa Bertel recalls Super Dave’s Paddle Craft Adventures’ first Memorial Day in 2013—“The first really busy day we had”—when they met a family from Omaha. “We call them our Nebraska people,” she said, and they came out twice the first year and twice last year, and have kept in touch with the Bertels over the winter. They plan on coming out again this year.
The relationships they’ve built with customers have been pleasant surprises to the Bertels, who’ve watched some grow up before their eyes.
“The younger group, I taught them on my duck pond,” Lisa Bertel said. “Now they’ll be 13, 14, and they’re so excited about going out on their own away from mom and dad.”
As the Bertels’ business enters its third summer, Lake of the Ozarks continues to see increased demand for watersport rentals. Stand-up paddleboarding isn’t the only way for visitors to get on the water.
“We have visitors from all over,” said Brad Cato, director of rental operations for a Lake of the Ozarks mainstay, Iguana Watersports. “It’s just amazing how many people are catching on to this place. We’ve already booked more reservations than last year, we’re probably up by 20 percent. It’s looking to be a really good year.”
Lake waters used to only be for boaters—Iguana Watersports has that covered. You can also rent Jet Skis, party boats and the newest innovation: hoverboards, a water-jet propelled mini-surfboard that propels a rider into the sky. Iguana Watersports has stand-up paddleboards too, of course.”
Like the Bertels, Cato encourages beginners to try out water activities.
“We’re offering things to the novice boater,” Cato said. “Some have never operated a watercraft and they come down here, try it out and fall in love with it.”
The key to loving stand-up paddleboarding, the Bertels believe, is success with it. This isn’t surfing, where a beginner has the slimmest of chances to stand up on the first day—the Bertels’ Super Dave’s Paddle Craft Adventures doesn’t even start the clock on the rental until a customer is up and running, err, standing. Which shouldn’t take long: Lisa and Dave make sure a beginning paddleboarder is comfortable and confident. The Bertels teach you how to stand up; also, how to fall. They embrace the misstep—it’s part of the fun.
“It’s a matter of being determined that you’re going to stand up, and then doing it,” Lisa Bertel said. “And being willing to fall into water; you’re not going to get hurt. There’s no sport out there where you’re an expert the first time you do it. When you lose that challenge, you’re not as interested.”
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