On a sunny day here in Oregon most people have to get out for a ride, a run, or just a game of Frisbee in the park. But, when it comes to floating the rivers and lakes in the area people have taken to Stand Up Paddle Boarding in the last few years.
Flat-water stand up paddle boarding, or SUP’ing, has become a great way to get exercise and work on that tan. In the water blessed towns of Oregon you’ll see many people on a warm day stroking the water with a long paddle, while standing atop of essentially an oversize surf board.
The 1960’s was when paddle boarding was popularized on the Hawaiian Islands. In Waikiki, and many other surf spots, paddle boards are used by surf instructors to corral large groups of students spread out all over a surf break. It gives them a better viewpoint of their group and helps them be able to see the incoming swell much better. It also gives them the ability to snap photos of the learning tourists in order to make a few extra dollars on top of their lesson income.
Paddle surfing is the fastest growing water surf activity. It allows a wider range of athletic types to learn and boarders don’t have to schedule it around high and low tides like you usually do with surfing. Recently, Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama were tagged with bringing the ancient paddle surfing to the mainstream sports world. Of course, when you put phenomenal surfers on anything, people are eventually going to adopt.
Laird and Dave realized on low swell days, where there may only be a few decent, rideable waves out of each incoming set. The aid of a paddle and bigger board allowed them to paddle back out much faster. This way, they could catch more of the waves in a single set.
The draw to the sport being performed on flat water, is the benefit of a solid core workout. More people are finding that SUP’ing is very easy to learn, and unlike surfing, athletes can be sliding easily through waters with ease after just an hour of experience. This gives those golden age water lovers an opportunity to get out on the water, without having to worry about getting injured. Around Oregon, many women have started Paddle Boarding companies because it is a safe and fun low-impact way to burn calories, build strength, and spend time with their children or friends. Women are often more skilled at paddle boarding due to their low center of gravity. If you’re interested in Paddle Boarding equipment, check out REI and their great selection of boards, paddles, and other gear.
Here are several good spots, rental shops, and instruction here in Oregon to help you plan a fun weekend on the water… Bring your fishing rod!
1. Hood River, OR
Good Spot: The Hood River delta near the marina, just downstream of the toll bridge.
Rental Shop: Big Winds is one of the best shops to rent from in Hood River. They have a broad selection and a great staff.
2. Bend, OR
Good Spot: Old Mill section of the Deschutes River
Rental Shop: Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe is the best place to rent in Bend if you’re looking for a quick float. They’re right on the river too, so you can get dropped off, and float right back to the rental shop.
3. Oregon Coast
Good Spot: Short Sands off HWY 101, South of Seaside. And any other decent surf spot. Be very careful on moderate swell days.
Rental Shop- The Canon Beach, OR surf shop Cleanline Surf is the best place to get your rental on. They will also have good info on where to go for the current day.
4. Portland, OR
Good Spot: West Linn, off of exit 6 on HWY 205
Rental Shop- Gorge Performance has everthing that you need for a great weekend on the water in Portland. Rates are between $25-$40 depending on what day you rent.