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New wave of exercise and fun, DL native opens paddle board shop

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Paddle boarding is a form of water exercise popular in places like Hawaii.2 / 4
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SOL, which stands for Stand On Lakes, is located on West Lake Drive in Detroit Lakes, across from the Pavilion and next to the Lake Shirts shop.4 / 4

When Detroit Lakes graduate Ben Magnuson was taking classes at the University of Hawaii through the national student exchange program, he picked up more than a good tan and college credits.

He also picked up the love of the new craze of paddle boarding, and Magnuson is bringing it to the Detroit Lakes area.

Magnuson will become a pioneer of sorts by introducing the recreational sport to the lakes area by opening his SOL Surf Co. shop this spring and summer, with the doors tentatively planned to open Thursday, May 10.

SOL, which stands for Stand On Lakes, will be located right on West Lake Avenue, across from the DL Pavilion and next to the Lakeshirts Shop. The new business will offer paddle board rentals, concessions, guided tours, exercise and yoga opportunities, along with a venue for DL's youth to just "hang out."

It's a venture Magnuson is more than pumped for and is ready to introduce something which hasn't yet hit the lakes area full throttle.

"Paddle boarding is so big in Hawaii and it's taking over the Twin Cities area, but nobody has made an impact here in this area," Magnuson said. "It's something I am very passionate about and once you try it, you will be glued to it."

Paddle boarding is unlike any other water sport, in that individuals do not need any type of experience or be a certain age to enjoy it and can range from five to 80 years old.

A regular paddle board itself is up to three feet wide and nine feet long, so the stability is strong, thus making it easy to maneuver on the water.

"I taught paddle boarding in Hawaii, and it's just a fun activity and a great way to gain some exercise," Magnuson added. "I always tell people, if you can stand on the sidewalk and hold a broom at the same time, you can paddle board."

With paddle boarding being such a versatile sport, Magnuson will have a big variety of activities planned over the course of the summer, and they will be attractive to an array of people.

Magnuson will hold 20-minute training sessions on the water and once his clients are comfortable with the paddle board, the lakes and rivers of the area are open to them.

To introduce the new sport to the area, Magnuson will hold a demo day, in which people can try the paddle boards out for free.

"Since it's so new, people are hesitant to try it out," Magnuson said. "But I will teach the basic techniques of it."

The DL graduate is working towards his physical exercise degree, and teaching paddle boarding works right into his experience.

He will be holding yoga and exercise classes on the paddle boards, which will put the individual through a variety of training techniques -- all on the water of Little Detroit Lake.

"There are just a bunch of different exercises you can do on the paddle boards, because they are so stable on the water," Magnuson stated. "It adds a different element of working out."

But there is more than just the attraction of great exercise included in the sport of paddle boarding -- a lot more.

"With paddle boarding, there are so many elements you can enjoy such as cruising the lakes, fitness and just being a new option to get on the water," he added.

Another aspect in which Magnuson will introduce is using paddle boarding to fish. The paddle board company he is working with out of Hawaii is creating a fishing paddle board.

The paddle board will hold fishing rods, bait and be directed to accommodate the fisherman in general.

Even though people can rent the paddle boards and take them to whichever lake or river they want -- yes, Magnuson will also offer car carriers, as well -- they can also stick in town and take a guided paddle board tour of Big and Little Detroit Lakes.

Magnuson will guide sunset paddles from 7:15-8:30 p.m. during summer evenings, which can be booked ahead of time through his new website at (which will be up and running very shortly).

People can also access information from his Facebook page at

The SOL Shop will also offer tours for parties of all sorts or for business outings. Each sunset tour will be $35 for a paddle rental, which will include a lesson teaching proper padding technique.

With paddle boarding being considered a water sport, Magnuson is also planning some races for all ages and skill level this summer, as well.

His SOL Shop will "encourage loitering" and hopefully become a destination for the area youth to just hang out. There will be a sand volleyball court set up, hammocks, along with concessions which will include ice cream, soda, water, hot dogs and a perfect beach atmosphere.

The shop will also offer beach attire and wake surfing board rentals, as well as the opportunity to purchase a paddle board, in which Magnuson can directly order through the company in Hawaii and ship throughout the entire U.S.

"I just want it to be a hangout for kids looking for good, clean fun," Magnuson said.

Rentals will range from hourly (one, three or six hours) to daily or weekend. Prices will range from $20 to $80 per board, depending on how long the rental will be.

"The sport is just taking off," Magnuson said. "I just want to get my foot in the door here and help bring some energy back to the lakes."

Brian Wierima
Detroit Lakes Newspapers Sports Editor for the last 15 years. St. Cloud State University graduate, who hails from Deer Creek, MN.