Lake Affect is a shop in downtown Petoskey. It carries clothes and home decor, but its focus is on creations by local artists.

It might seem like an unlikely retailer for stand-up paddleboards.

Until you’ve seen the boards made by Jason Thelen, the Native American founder of Petoskey-based Little Bay Boards LLC. His wooden paddleboards and wakeboards — smaller boards towed behind motor boats — are visually stunning works of art, with their long, thin strips of hardwood and colorful, eye-catching geometric inlays.

The boards are so artistic that store owner Molly Kircher admits she’s a half-hearted retailer, at best.

wood paddle board

“His boards are just so beautiful, very few people who see one don’t want one, even if they don’t paddleboard,” said Kircher, who has three on display. One, made of knotty pine with a sunburst design, hangs behind her check-out counter. “I price them really high because I don’t want to sell them. And we have two at our house. They’re so beautiful, you think, ‘How can I put this in the water? How can I pull it up onto sand?'”

Kircher said she found Thelen when she was looking for local artists to stock in the store, which is in its sixth year.

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