While Coeur d’Alene has several spots where you can rent standup paddleboards and kayaks and carry them to the water, you just can’t beat sliding a board into the Spokane River and paddling down to where it opens into the lake’s open waters. At Fun Unlimited in Post Falls, Idaho, you can do just that.
“Our location is at the Red Lion Templin’s Hotel, right on the river,” says Cara Quien, owner of Fun Unlimited with her husband Keith. “It is a really sweet spot, and we are in a no-wake zone.” For beginner paddlers and families with kids, this is good news. “We are right behind the dam,” says Quien, “so there is no current. It’s not like the wild open Coeur d’Alene Lake, which is choppy and windy and has boat traffic. It’s really peaceful and calm, and it’s a great experience for first-timers.”
The Quiens originally opened Fun Unlimited in 2012 with the vision of it being a club membership where people could pay a monthly fee and get unlimited use of the “toys” that were available for rent. “My husband is very much the entrepreneur,” says Quien, “and has always wanted to own a business. We sat down at the kitchen table and talked about it, and I said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’”
In the beginning, they stocked snowmobiles, ATVs, bikes, jet skis – all the usual suspects. Then this husband-and-wife team ended up falling in love with watersports. Now they exclusively offer SUP boards, kayaks, and jet skis, and paddleboarding is probably their favorite. “Paddleboarding is not one of those intimidating sports,” says Quien. “We have six-year-olds who come and do it. We had a 76-year-old who came last summer and she was standing!”
While inflatable SUP boards have always been a part of the Quiens’ lineup, they have decided to only stock inflatable boards starting this season. Over time, they have observed that the solid core fiberglass or hard plastic boards don’t hold up to the river rocks, especially when hundreds of people are renting them every day. “The inflatable boards are much more durable. A lot of folks like to rent them and take them places,” says Quien. Fun Unlimited includes paddles, a pump, and instructions on how to inflate the boards with every rental. And they design their own boards. Their production company, Stillwater Paddleboards, is small but dedicated to making dependable SUP equipment. “Our boards are very, very stable,” Quien says, “and there is space and two handles where a small child can sit cross-legged on the front.”
This summer, they will also bring their SUP boards and kayaks to Washington, providing rentals at the new Downtown Spokane River Access Point directly under the Division Street Bridge. Last September, Keith and Cara took an end-of-the-day paddle from this spot to No-Li Brewhouse to test the waters and explore the opportunities. “The water was like glass,” recalls Cara. “We had the idea [to set up at the access] before that night, but once we did the paddle, that was all we could think about. It’s a great river.”
As they continue to expand, their desire is to stay personable and family-friendly, and to share their love of SUP with anyone who is willing to give it a try. They currently sell season passes for both locations, and opening a spot in Coeur d’Alene is on their wishlist for the future. For now, Fun Unlimited will continue to be an outstanding place to introduce families and individuals to the water, regardless of experience and skill level. //