Coming from rural Illinois to The Grand Canyon state, I've noticed the vast difference in outdoor recreation. In Mesa, Arizona you might be a bit surprised to hear there are three lakes and two rivers within 30 minutes of the Mesa border. Water recreation opportunities are plentiful for boating, fishing, rafting, kayaking, water skiing, wake boarding, jet skiing, tubing, and so much more. Click here to see a full listing of lakes and water exploration for you to explore.

Every weekend since I've moved to Arizona has been filled with some new and exciting adventure. Recently, I discovered stand up paddleboarding is available right here in Mesa! This particular water activity is quite popular in the Greater Phoenix area. After seeing many photos posted on Facebook and Instagram, I decided it was my turn to give it a try! I started my new adventure by contacting No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards, also known as SUP. After confirming my appointment with their friendly staff, the only thing left to do was... show up! They assured me no major planning was needed because they take care of you from start to finish. Believe me - it's true!

NoSnowSUP shop 

The moment you step into their shop you're surrounded by surf boards, paddleboards, paddles, wetsuits and an abundance of different water accessories. I thought for a moment, are we in California? As No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards says: No Ocean Required.

Measuring for Paddle  

The owner, Heather and her lovely staff greeted my friends and I upon arrival with a warm smile. They made sure to answer any questions we had and within minutes, we were getting the process started. The first thing they did was measure us for the right paddle and paddleboard size. To do this you stand up next to the paddle and extend your arm so it comfortably reaches to the top. This ensures the length of the paddle is the right size.

Watching intro to stand up paddle boarding 

The next step was to watch an introduction video, covering all the basic techniques and safety instructions for stand up paddleboarding. 

Racking up 1 

Racking up 2 

After watching the video and feeling confident enough to head out, it was time to rack our boards up. No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards provides all the materials needed and a staff member will always be available for help. We watched carefully and took pictures of the process. If you don't go out with an instructor, this step is important because you will need to know how to rack the boards yourself coming back.

Loaded Up 

Once the paddle boards were properly racked on top of our vehicle, there was only one more thing left to do and that was purchase a $6.00 Tonto National Forest pass. This is your ticket for activities such as camping, day-use and use of motorized watercraft. To see more information on The Tonto National Forest pass, click here.  

Tonto Pass 

You can purchase this pass at Walgreens which happens to be conveniently located right next door to No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards shop. You can also purchase them at gas stations near the lakes and rivers. Tip: Just look for the Tonto sign in their window. 

Me ready to go 

Now, it was time to go stand up paddle boarding! We chose the sunset paddle board session on the Salt River, launching from the Granite Reef Recreation Area. Here you will be surrounded by desert beauty and the majestic Red Mountain, a view I recommend not to miss!

Collage of Paddle boarding experience 

No Snow Stand Up Paddleboards assures that paddleboarding is available for people of all ages and skill levels. As mentioned before, no prior experience is required. No Snow also offers guided group paddles including Friday sunset paddles, moonlight paddles and even early morning paddles. Contact the shop for a most up-to-date schedule or view their website HERE.