“It was a crystal, flat day on Lake Michigan that sparked Jason Thelen’s hands and heart.

Now captive by his experience, The Petoskey resident works to create functional, wooden pieces of art so others can feel the same thrill of open water on a paddleboard.

Watch as Creative Intern Liam Kaiser helps viewers enter into the quiet joy of paddle boarding Lake Michigan—the same experience that inspired Thelen to start the eco-friendly, homegrown company of Little Bay Boards in Petoskey.”

“There’s this constant buzz all the time every week there’s somebody coming to talk about it or you know something going on. I think that’s cool. It’s really neat that the world sees what I do is something cool. I mean I’m just enjoying what I’m doing.


It’s beautiful. There’s something about being in the middle of water. it always its historical on the fact that it that out there has never changed you know anything on land has changed throughout the thousand years you know I mean it used to be all timbers and stuff and they tore it all down and built all these buildings and everything else like that but the middle of lake has never changed. it’s always been the exact same. My brother-in-law bought a board when we’re on vacation down in Leelanau County. it’s a Good Harbor Bay and I took it out with a corona and it was a crystal flat day and i went way way way out like as far as I could get out and sat down and found something that you don’t find any other place on the planet, the lowness speed desolate quiet nothing else with you and yourself I was kind of addicted to it right at that moment a little bit boards is an eco-friendly conscious company where our format is it’s what we believe in and that’s what will be as long as we possibly can so when it’s busy season and I go to work before the kids wake up make my coffee shop in the truck roll in here turn the lights on crank the stereo up.


Always trying to be better. There’s always a learning curve to everything and there’s always a way. Every day that we start it’s, you know, what are we gonna do today that’s a little bit different that could be better.  Maybe it’s not, but we’ll know when we’re done every part of building a paddle board is the most important part to be eco-friendly and to do something better for the environment. It’s gonna make me die happy man. I have a very short life. I have kids that I want to make a stamp that I didn’t do anything bad here and I’m promoting something better and I’m driving as hard as I can to make wood boards more than one percent of the market out there.”