Paddlers of Central Oregon

Welcome to the Paddlers of Central Oregon newly launched website. We hope that you will find this site useful, informative and even entertaining. Please keep in mind that this site is primarily focused on paddling in Central Oregon. To reach out past our little part of paradise check out the Links page.

Water is the lifeblood of all paddlers and to find out what is effecting our liquid playparks click on Waterway Issues. Want to know how you can help with POCO? Want to learn how you can participate in clean-up and restoration efforts? How about staying up on news about the proposed Bend Paddle Trail Alliance / Whitewater Park? Then visit the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance website.

Want to know about the the river flows or the weather forecast out there? Check out Conditions.

The Links page is full of links to other paddling websites that should satisfy most if not all of your paddling needs.

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Latest Blog Posts

What You Need to Know Before SUP in Oregon


Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) can be described as an offshoot of surfing. SUP differs from surfing in that it is unlike traditional surfing where the rider waits until a wave to come; stand up paddle boarders and stand on their boards and using a paddle, propels themselves always through the water towards the intended wave.

Believe it or not, the art of SUP originated in Africa, sometimes back where it was common practice to stand while canoeing, to see further in the distance and deeper into the water. The Africans also used this method as a tactic to encroach on their enemies during war times. It was only later in the sixteenth century when Hawaiian surfers would use larger surfboards and use a paddle to assist with speed and balance. In the twentieth century, SUP was regularly used as a form of sea rescue, as lifeguards in Tel-Aviv used this method to get to victims faster and easier. This real method was used again later in the 1940s by two surf instructors in Waikiki, to steady oneself during incoming swells, and termed as a Beach Board Surfing.

In the late 1990’s SUP was officially taught at Hawaii surf schools as the alternate way of surfing when there was insufficient swell. Since then, SUP has become a very popular sport, with the first SUP magazine founded in 2007 called Standup Journal. First documented in the 2013 report, SUP was identified as the very outdoor sport with the most newcomers in United States.

SUP Basics

SUP is a highly skilled sport and requires specific equipment in order to participate.

1. Standup Paddle Board

A paddle board is much thicker than the ordinary surfboard and it comes in different shapes and sizes. Paddle boards are manufactured specifically for this sport and are uniquely designed to support the rider while standing, with the shape of the sides of the board assisting with stability in the water. When starting out, it is advisable for beginners to use a longer and thicker board. As you develop your skill, it will be easier to move to a leaner, more dynamic board. Across the world, there is a range of different SUP board manufacturers with expert advisors that can assist in choosing the paddle board that is the right fit for you.

2. Paddle

A standup Paddle is now then to propel the rider further and faster in the water. Consisting of a blade and shaft with the handle, the standup paddle is similar to that of a canoe paddle. The standup paddle is made of various materials and can differ in size, construction, and shape, depending on what is needed by the individual rider, based on height, weight and skill level. The paddle can be made from wood, aluminum, plastic or carbon fiber. As a beginner, it is important that the paddle used should always be 6 to up to 10 inches above the height of the paddler to assist with more balance. A paddle is commonly held with the two hands with a wide grip and the blade of the paddle tilted away right from the body. The correct way of paddling is by inserting the paddle into the water and ahead of the feet and using the weight of the body to propel the board forward.

3. Leash

A SUP leash keeps the paddleboat attached to the rider, as it is common for paddlers to get knocked over. Usually, it is connected via a velcro strap attached to one’s ankle. The general rule is that the leash should be as long or shorter than the length of the paddle board.

4. Paddle Bag

SUP equipment is rather pricey and you want to ensure that your equipment stays in a good condition. A bag is important for transporting your equipment. It is so easy to damage your board by accidentally bumping it while carrying it from your vehicle to the water. Paddle bags are available in various materials and are generally uniquely designed for the brand and model of your paddle board.

SUP Lessons in Oregon

SUP is a very popular sport in the US and Oregon, in particular. Not only is there a large SUP community but there is also access to various SUP sporting equipment stores, beginners, intermediate and expert level training and a host of social and race events occurring throughout the year. The Sundance Kayak School has a range of training options available to suit your individual needs and can also assist with advice and other important information regarding this sport.

Hard vs Inflatable Paddle Boats

When purchasing your first SUP board, it is important to choose the best board for your skill level, height, weight, and strength. There are many that advocate for the traditional hard SUP board, which is commonly made from lightweight carbon constructions. These boards are generally stiffer, making them great for high level performance and distance sprint events.

Inflatable paddle boards (or iSUPs), on the other hand, are surprisingly technologically advanced and are not as “flimsy” as the name itself would suggest. Many of the inflatables are able to compete with the traditional boards in races and events and are great for traveling, with the minimization of damage and the added advantage of carrying around a lighter piece of equipment. Pump Paddle Boards has a good write up on inflatable paddle boards here.

Hiring a SUP in Oregon

There are many outlets in Oregon where you are able to purchase SUP equipment, but did you know that hiring was also an option? This is a great way to test the sport and see if it is something that you would be willing to take on as a hobby or competitive sport on a long-term basis. The best advice is to test a variety of SUP equipment with different shapes and sizes and to look at using these on different bodies of water. Try visiting online websites for information on equipment hire in this area.

As a sport and social hobby, SUP has taken the world by storm. Web data indicates that there has been a significant growth in the sport, both in the US and abroad. Earlier this year, the International Surfing Association assisted with the global development of SUP and the certification of 150 instructors in 12 different countries. SUP is in constant development in countries like Brazil, Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Belgium and Hong Kong.

Images from Pixabay.

SUP bend oregon

SUP the Bend, Oregon

SUP or stand up paddleboarding is a water sport that has been gaining popularity in recent years. Like many other water sports, it originated in Hawaii and is now one of most popular outdoor activities in the pacific Northwest. It is a fun sport and a great way to exercise as it gives you a complete core muscle workout, improves your ability to balance and builds your endurance and mental toughness. It is appropriate for environmentalists too as it is a green sport since there is no engine or noise to pollute the environment.

Bend SUP Lessons

The Bend, Oregon in the watersports world is like Hollywood for the movie world. Learning to paddle board is easy and anyone can do that from a 3 year to a 90 year old. When lessons are taken on calm and flat water anyone will stand and paddle quickly and a few tries later it becomes easier and easier to balance. Most trainers have paddleboards that you can rent for your training. The Visit Bend website has some good information on local paddleboarding options.

Paddleboarding Oregon

Paddleboarding is one of the most popular outdoor activities in Oregon especially around Bend metropolis. There are various locations to engage in paddleboarding, for example, The Riverbend park where the water is warm and calm with good accessibility. It is located between Old Mill District and Bill Healy Memorial Bridge. Upper Deschutes river is another great location especially for people that don’t like crowds. Other places include Sparks lake and glacial pool where you can get to explore places that have probably never been explored before. Trainers and paddleboard rentals are available in all these places.

Deschutes River SUP

Located in central Oregon and flows into the Columbia, this river is popular especially during the summer due to the various sports taking place in it such as fishing, whitewater rafting and stand up paddleboarding. If you were to take a stroll along the river it’s likely you will see young people with paddleboards getting ready to have a good time.

If you’re looking for a summer vacation spot, you can try The Bend in Oregon and get to experience various water sports including stand up paddleboarding which can be an exciting sport to try out. The most interesting thing about it is you can try different things on the board like doing yoga, standing, squating or whatever you can as long as you maintain your balance. You have a pet? you can bring him/her along for the ride too.

Image source from Imperial River Co & Kevin and Amanda.

Stand Up Paddleboard in Astoria, Oregon

SUP in Astoria, Oregon

Stand Up Paddleboarding is the new hot sport in Astoria, Oregon, nestled in the mouth of River Columbia. The seafront town is named so in the honor of the first millionaire in the US, John Astor. Perhaps, it is its nautical legacy that made it such a hit amongst water sports adventurers. Astoria is no more a haunt of broke artists and the trending nature of water sports is helping that, especially the sport of stand up paddleboard in Astoria Oregon.

Don’t be fooled by the way an expert makes stand-up paddleboarding looks so effortless. It might look as though the board and the boarder are one. Alas, acquiring a board and taking it to a water body is the easiest bit. Standing up and paddling into the sunset is not. Yes, it takes incredible strength, focus and skill to get your paddleboard to a certain speed and time the pace in accordance with that of the waves.

Strictly speaking, it calls for a good understanding of the sea, especially if you are planning to master downwind stand up paddleboarding. Ability to gauge the patterns of the waves and draw astute conclusions on how and when to steer and paddle all the while keeping your balance takes months and months of practice to achieve.

Astoria SUP Rental

Standing Up Paddleboards are not exactly cheap. It is not worth to buy one if you are going to use it once and chuck it away to collect dust. If you don’t feel like investing in SUP gears, renting them out until you learn the sport properly is a good idea. There are plenty of SUP rental options in Astoria (like Clatso Paddle) and paddle boarding lessons for all tastes. You can find many such establishments that rent out SUP gears near Coffenbury Lake in Astoria.

Astoria SUP Lessons

Unlike other adventurous or extreme sports, anyone can learn to SUP. You can start learning right from age 3. Many people learn by themselves or with the help of family or friends. But you can also get trained from professionals in Astoria at a nominal fee. It is strongly recommended that you practice on a day when water is calm if you are learning by yourself.

SUPs and surfboards are not one and the same, although they share the same roots. SUP is now a distinct sport in itself. You stand upright on the board facing the horizon. There is an elongated paddle with a slight bend in the center that can help you push forward. Another challenge is to resist the tendency to look down at the feet constantly. It is not only dangerous but also defeats the purpose of sightseeing.

Image sourced from Clatso Paddle Company

Sparks Lake Central Oregon

8 Best Lakes to SUP in Central Oregon

If you’re from Oregon you know how many lakes we have. If you’re not, you’ve probably at least heard of its recent obsession with stand up paddle boarding (SUP for short). If you go to Arizona you’ll hike a bunch of hills and explore canyons. In Oregon, you paddleboard lakes. You don’t question it. You just do. In 2014 outside magazine ranked Bend, Oregon as the number one place to SUP in the world. Not just in the states, but the world. When something is the best in the world, it’s worth trying.

But here’s the problem. With so many lakes to choose from in Oregon, where should you start? Consider the following 8 which I consider to be the 8 best places to stand up paddle board in Oregon.

Sparks Lake

Sparks Lake Map

This is probably my favorite spot. I would recommend going early in the morning. There are plenty of arms in the lake that lead into amazing beaches. Make one your own. Every time I go I feel as if I find a new spot. You’re in Deschuttes county so either bring your own paddle board or rent one at Tumalo Creek.

There are plenty of great places to camp around the area just make sure you get your day pass.

Suttle Lake

Suttle Lake Map

This is a more challenging lake. There is more wind and more boat traffic so the water will not be as calm. The docks are a cool place to spend some time and the campgrounds are excellent. It is known for floating reed paths, which you can navigate through. Needless to say it’s a very popular spot in the summer.

For all your housing and rental needs, head to The Shuttle Lodge. It’s one of the reasons Suttle Lake is on this list. It’s simply
amazing.

Elk Lakes

Elk Lakes Map

Elk Lake feels romantic with its volcanic landscape. Its beauty is enough to put it on this list. On top of that, it’s where the Gerry Lopez SUP Race Series are held. If you are a SUP enthusiast you likely know what that means.

The Elk lake marina is where you can satisfy all of your SUP rental needs. They’re great friendly staff and will answer any and all your questions.

Cultus Lake Marina

Cultus Lake Map

This one is another beauty as a glacier formed it. It can be difficult as it allows high speed boating. It’s one of the few places that do.

For all of your rental needs go to the marina. Just don’t go on Monday since the restaurant is closed and you’ll miss out on the great food.

Lost Lake

https://goo.gl/maps/6vDxAzgC6T82

The Mt. Hood National Park region has some beautiful spots for SUP. This is one of the twoLost Lake Map best Lakes there. It’s very SUP friendly and you get the greatest view of Mt. Hood.

For all of your rental needs head to the park’s marina. They have everything you need.

Make sure to check the roads ahead of time, it’s in a difficult area where often the roads are closed.

Trillium Lake

Trillium Lake Map

Trillium Lake is very close to lost lake. They are very similar. It is the other best lake to go to in the Mt. Hood National park. Go to the same place for rentals and make sure you check the traffic conditions ahead of time.

It also has an amazing view of Mt. Hood but is less SUP friendly than Lost Lake. But second best is still worth exploring if you have the time.

Vancouver Lake

Vancouver Lake Map

I felt the need to include a place closer to Portland. It’s very close to the city. It is a huge body of water for SUP and feels endless at times. Make sure to go when it’s not windy. But the boating speed is well regulated which makes it extra SUP friendly.

For all of your rental needs use Suportland. They give you a great deal. These guys will even deliver to you.

Tumalo Creek Canoe & Kayak

Tumalo Creek Map

This one’s kind of cheating because it’s not really a lake. It’s a creek. But it’s an excellent spot to SUP. You can also come here for rentals before heading to the lakes in the Bend area.

I included it on the list because it has a great YOGA night on the paddleboards. I’m not a big yoga fanatic, but there’s something about doing it on a paddleboard that is enlightening. Sign up and check it out.

Where are your favorite spots for SUP? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Main image from Wiki Commons