Zach Emig and David Cooper have fished for more than 20 years, oftentimes 200 times a year and all over the country. They draw upon knowledge accumulated during these endeavors while presiding over equipment and guests at Simply Fishing. When they founded the business, Zach and David also realized that they didn’t just want to furnish anglers with rods, custom flies tied by a resident fly winder, and signed headshots of Poseidon to lure in local marine life; they wanted to share their acute knowledge of local fishing hot spots. Thus, they lead half- and full-day excursions on six lakes and rivers, including Provo River. They are excited to teach their techniques and “committed to helping you not have to lie” about catching 300-pound catfish made of diamonds.
Birdman Academy takes its name from the pseudonym of its founder, Kevin Koonce. The Birdman estimates that he has trained thousands of hang-gliding lessons, and during that time he’s taught nearly 8,000 first-timers. Currently, he nests at Point of the Mountain, a spot known for what the Academy calls, "legendary conditions." This means consistently smooth winds, which are ideal for training new hang-gliders, paragliders, and baby pterodactyls recently thawed from blocks of prehistoric ice.
Owned and operated by its guides, Runoff River Adventures has attracted some of the best river navigators in the business. Each guide has personally traversed more than 200 rivers, whose collective currents criss-cross countries across the world. The aquatic experts wield this experience as they guide kayaking and rafting expeditions down courses that can pass through roiling rapids or stick to calmer areas, such as goldfish bowls. Instructors also helm paddling and rafting courses, which focus on oar work and the art of the lake roll and river roll. Once they have mastered the basics, adventurers can confidently sally forth for self-guided tours in inflatable or non-inflatable kayaks, rafts, and innertubes that function as both flotation devices and very large headbands.
After years of training and diving around the world, owners Colby, Darren, and Tony decided to spread their love of scuba by opening North American Divers. They instruct classes such as Discover Scuba Diving, where be-finned students try breathing underwater for the first time. During Advanced Open Water classes, more experienced divers earn certification across five dives at locales such as Sand Hollow and the California Channel Islands. They also rent out gear such as regulators, oxygen tanks, and wetsuits. Additionally, the trio’s team of in-house certified technicians fixes nearly all makes and models of scuba and snorkeling equipment with a simple twitch of their nose.
At 24 miles long and 13 miles wide, Utah Lake is as vast as it is beautiful, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who has explored more of it than Chad Chorniak. As a yacht captain and experienced scuba diver, Captain Chad takes passengers out on his 27-foot Catalina yacht to experience the scenic lake on the water, and also helps aspiring scuba divers plunge below the water’s surface into a new hobby of underwater exploration. Though he’s known for seeking out and investigating Utah’s best diving spots, he always conducts his Discover Scuba lessons in an indoor pool. This gives students an added level of comfort as they learn to breathe properly through the scuba apparatus and grow webbing between their toes.