Lee Kline was aboard a friend’s hacker-craft, trying to imagine what its classic wooden styling might look like flattened into a paddleboard shape. Paul Lavoie was staring at a lake full of pedal boats, wondering why they were such ugly, plastic eyesores.
Together, the men founded Beau Lake, with the goal of bringing elegance to the world of water toys. They created the company in November 2016 and put their paddleboards online in 2017. Their pedal boat was new this past summer, with an electric boat in the works for 2019.
“The whole Mediterranean yachting vibe is inspiring what we’re doing,” Kline says. “There’s a masculinity — the deep, rich coloring. And we have the modern materials and the wood.”
Those materials include fiberglass, epoxy, carbon fiber and wood veneers being used in ways that both men recognize from their own time on the water. Kline grew up sailing 30-footers with his family and today cites everything from Beneteau to Wally to Swan as influences. Lavoie has a 42-foot 1958 Matthews. He uses his advertising background to direct the Beau Lake brand, while Kline puts his functional and industrial fabrication skills into product design.
“It was a childhood dream of mine to design nautical craft,” Kline says, “and now it’s coming to fruition.”
While a professional kiteboarder helped Kline create the Rapid paddleboard for speed, his goal with other Beau Lake products has been to make them ideal for novices. That’s why the pedal boat, which can hit 5 knots, has a tunnel hull.
“It’s practically a catamaran, even though it looks like a monohull,” Kline says. “When you stand in this thing, it doesn’t rock at all.”
The idea is to allow water lovers of all ages to mix fun with exquisite beauty.
“We have clients who are 80 years old,” Kline says. “Another is a woman who is 91. And kids too. Even though these are fairly big boards, they’re stable and easy to use.”