Paddleboards built from passion: Little Bay Boards

Global Partner

It hasn’t always been rainbows and butterflies.  But then, nothing worth chasing ever is.”  These are words spoken by Little Bay Boards owner/artist & board builder, Jason Thelen.  Jason prides himself in creating a product as individualized for his customers as the way they ride.

WELCOME to Little Bay Boards:  a work of craftsmanship & environmental elegance

Little Bay Boards are handcrafted in Petoskey, Michigan. That’s right, Michigan.  It’s about as far from the seacoast as one can get, but owner/creator Jason Thelen has a ‘passion that runs deep across these tables’.

It’s only natural Jason Thelen feels a deep rooted connection to nature. He lives near Lake Michigan and its heavily wooded areas to the north in Michigan state. He is also the great-great-great grandson of Chief Petoskey, a legendary figure among the native Odawas and the namesake of the town he lives in.

Little Bay Boards Michigan Jason Thelan
Little Bay Boards are handcrafted using the finest hand-picked woods to create eco-friendly, hollow core boards that last a lifetime.

It started with a simple request from Jason’s then nine-year old daughter.  She wanted a paddle board, but she didn’t want one bought from the store. As a master carpenter, Jason knew he could create something as special and as one-of-a-kind as his daughter. In the spring of 2012 production began on his first custom Stand Up Paddle Board.

Little Bay Boards Michigan Jason Thelan
Customized inlays and design make each Little Bay Board a work of art.  Art you can ride, that is 😉

Handcrafted with the future in mind

Today, Jason creates in order to fulfill his need to give back.  He offers custom and off-the-rack hollow core stand up paddle and surfboards made completely out of wood.  He is as dedicated to preserving the environment as he is to selling his product.  And the product is an eco-friendly paddle board that will be in one’s family … forever.  They are lightweight due to its hollow core design and Little Bay Boards now ships worldwide.

“To know in my soul that Little Bay Boards does make a difference, not only to the riders of these boards, but to the future generations such as my children.” – Jason Thelen

Little Bay Boards Michigan Jason Thelan
Boards shaped for your usage include customized inlays and wood grains to make each board as individual as the person who owns it.

Little Bay Boards uses reclaimed wood and locally-sourced materials when building a paddle board. There are no chemical processes or polyurethane foam used in production. Strips of wood are meticulously chosen for their beauty and pieced together by hand, in a hollow board design glassed together with low VOC resin. Simple by design, but virtually indestructible.

Little Bay Boards Michigan Jason Thelan
Jason created a non-foam core paddle board in order to reduce his impact on the environment. Built to last and ride, Little Bay Boards create a style all their own.

It’s about “changing the look, the feel and the ride”.

“I’m not a granola. I haven’t been known to hug a tree but if anything can bring a person closer to nature it’s riding a wood board while gazing at the wildlife beneath you, feeling the wind around your whole body, and listening to water lap against the hollow of the board. I now understand what people mean when they say Hawaii calls them because that’s what my board does to me.”
– Happy Customer

Little Bay Boards, crafted on the shores of Lake Michigan, are now available to be shipped worldwide.

To learn MORE about Little Bay Boards, check out their website:

Or follow them on Facebook or Instagram @littlebayboards to begin your dream of changing the way you ride.


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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.