Minnesotans To Meet: The Friends Behind Paddle North

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s that time of year where we pack up our cars and head to the lake, and a glide through the water for friends Peter Mogck and Matt Frakes has turned into full speed ahead. That’s what make these two business partners Minnesotans to Meet.

Having been childhood friends, Peter Mogck and Matt Frakes parted ways after graduation from Mounds View High School, but that turned out to just be temporarily.

Mogck joined the Army that included tours in Iraq.

“From 2007 to 2008 I spent in Iraq. We were an aviation unit, so Black Hawk helicopters, kind of a giant taxi service for different types of units, moving around the entire country,” Mogck said.

Meanwhile, Frakes earned a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Minnesota-Duluth. He says he likes to work with his hands.

“I developed all kinds of medical device machinery, heavy equipment, kind of random inventions for entrepreneurs,” Frakes said. Those are the kind of projects he worked on at his old job.

Mogck left the army in 2009 to work in the private sector. In 2014, while on paternity leave following the birth of his son, a new idea took flight.

“It’s been a wild ride,” said Mogck, “During that two to three weeks off from my current job I was doing at the same time, is when this dream started.”

The entrepreneurs finally had an idea that was making waves — Paddle North. Their bamboo with fiberglass finish paddleboard has a nice Minnesota ring to it; it’s called “the Loon.”

Frakes oversees manufacturing, and Mogck the marketing. By 2015, this wasn’t just a hobby but a full-fledged business.

“The first trade show we went to did far better than we expected, so we kind of knew at that moment we already aren’t going to have time to do this. We were both working full time at other jobs at the time, and so we started searching for contract manufacturers,” Frakes said.

“All of us in Minnesota have canoed or kayaked in some form another. I really think of this as a longstanding third branch to that, just because once you are standing on the board and paddling, it’s hard to go back to sitting down,” Mogck said. “It’s a whole passive workout.”

Their board options continue to grow. Their first ever prototype, “the Loon,” is now available in three different sizes. These boards have become the “it” toy for Minnesota’s weekend getaways.

“We’re seeing a huge amount of families get our boards, as far as a lake or cottage home, where it’s the toy they take out on the weekend,” Mogck said.

“You can go out there on a nice glassy day and everything melts away. You’re just out there by yourself in the quiet in the water, you can see in the water and it’s just Zen,” Frakes said.

The duo tells me they have a few new boards in the works for next year. One is more geared toward anglers. They say they have some new inflatable boards, a hard board, and have plans to expand their surf line.

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