Natali and I wanted some beach therapy before our first clinic in Bend, OR so we took a little detour to the West Coast. We met up with our friend Tyler Lausten with TL Surf in Santa Cruz. Tyler bounces back and forth between Santa Cruz and Durango. His shaping HQ remains in Santa Cruz and his main focus is shaping custom wave skis for adaptive surfing athletes. His shapes are currently being ridden by some of the hardest chargers in the paralympics and adaptive surfing, he’s a five-time National Champion, and a volunteer for the high-fives foundation‘s surf camps. He took us out to some of his favorite surf spots, opened up his home, and gave us the low-down on where to buy the best donuts in Santa Cruz (Kelly’s French Bakery). Thanks Tyler!!!
We fell in love with Santa Cruz, the beaches weren’t crowded, whales lined the coast, the people were friendly, and the scenery was breath taking. It’s a #vanlife friendly place with plenty of overnight parking lining the coast with views that people pay millions to wake up to every morning.
On our way North we made our way to Muir Woods. Instead of paying to go into the park we decided to keep driving down a winding and narrow road that the big rig (aka VANna White) has ever been on in search of a nice hike…we found just that at Muir Beach.
Astral Designs has recently made some solid trail running shoes called the TR1’s and we were eager to try them out in the rainy conditions. We laced up our TR1-Treks and Meshs and hit the trail. The coastal hike was lined with a plethora of flowers and foliage giving off a scent that was perfectly alchemized with the salty air. We trudged through the mud, spotted whales and salamanders, and took in the soothing coastal elements. It was just what we needed. Now we’re prepped, rested, and ready for Bend!
Hey RVR 2 RVR followers!
We’re officially on the road at the start of our tour. We’re in Santa Cruz right now enjoying some beach therapy. Our first clinic is in Bend this weekend!
We spend so much time driving so good music is crucial. Which is why I’ve created the Van Life playlist series so you can get an ear full of what we listen to for those long drives, work outs, and chill-out sessions on the river.
Volume 9 is out and ready for your listening pleasure. You can expect a new playlist bi-weekly. Be sure to hit the Follow button under @bp_sups in Spotify to get notifications and full access to all my playlists.
Enjoy the Ear Candy!
We realized not everyone wants to or is ready to commit to an entire weekend of whitewater and river surfing instruction. There are many of you who still would like some time to really dial in your skills on flat water. In select locations we will be offering three hour intro to river skills on flatwater. This class will be catered to those who are hoping to get into river paddling but aren’t quite ready for moving current.
This three hour class will boost your confidence and get you ready for your first on river clinic or paddle. We’ll go over paddle strokes, focusing on technique for those strokes that are essential to successfully navigating rivers. We’ll make sure you’ve got your stances, braces, and pivot turns dialed before hitting the river.
Look for our schedule on our website this January. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get regular updates on new blog posts, tour updates, special deals, and more.
Make 2017 about improving your skills and making sure you’re safe and prepared to paddle the veins of this Earth.
Our clinic in Whitefish, MT could not have gone better. This clinic fully embodied what we envisioned our clinics to be when were in the Costa Rican jungle planning. Sonny and Kim we’re so hospitable and they connected us with a killer film crew called Traveling Rhino Productions. This crew came out and really put in the work to get the shot, including paddling downriver in a canoe full of thousands of dollars of gear. It was no small task.
We had a rockstar team of students and after each day we all met up at a local distillery. This was our vision! Not just focusing on the lessons but also putting just as much focus on community and promoting local business. Can’t wait to come back next year!
We can’t thank all of you enough!
There are three key points to keep in mind when shopping for a stand up paddle board specifically for running whitewater.
1. Stability (Width and Thickness)
This is the first and most important thing to look for when shopping for a board. A wide board will be more stable and allow for more room to move your feet–something we do often on the river. Standard widths for whitewater range from 33-36″.
We’ve seen a lot of companies go different ways when it comes to thickness. Many inflatable boards made for whitewater have opted for a 6″ thickness. This will be the most stable and have the most floatation. For the smaller or more advanced paddlers companies are realizing the benefit of going with a thinner rail of somewhere around 4.75″. Two benefits of this would be for better board feel and easier maneuverability.
Rocker is the curve a board has from nose to tail. In this case we will be looking at the nose rocker. Nose rocker comes in handy by helping you get up and over the rapids instead of submerging which creats instability.
Notice the rocker on this Badfish Stand Up Paddle ‘River Shred’
One thing we all know about rivers is that their bottoms and banks are covered in rocks. Rocks form rapids after all. Using composite lightweight boards is not recommended for running rivers, they’ll easily get dinged and damaged.
We recommend inflatable stand up paddle boards or a composite board designed specifically for rivers and durability.
Inflatables are great because they’re lightweight, extremely durable, easy to store and travel with. The downside to inflatables is their surfing capabilities are rather limited and you may sacrifice rigidity and responsiveness. But inflatable technology has come a long way in the past few years with different technologies to increase rigidity.
Check out the Badfish SUP’s new River Shred a whitewater specific inflatable.
Composite & Plastic There are composite options for whitewater as well. You’ll find some boards that are made of plastic (similar to a kayak). These boards are very durable but often times clunky.
Badfish has designed a composite board specific for running whitewater called the MVP . This board is made out of a durable material called Innegra. With durability you often times will sacrifice weight. The benefits of the composite is its rigidity resulting in being more responsive and better for surfing waves on the fly while traveling downstream.
Remember, if you’re new to the rivers we always recommend taking a course whether it be a river sup or river safety course, such as swift water rescue.Look for our 2017 schedule launch in December to see if we’re coming to a river near you. Please feel free to contact us with any gear or paddling questions!
Happy board shopping paddlers!
Well, we did it! We started a business and just completed our first season. And as first time business owners it went extremely well. We’ve learned so much from this first chapter that you better believe we’ll come back next year stronger than ever.
If I had a single piece of advice for someone thinking of starting a business I’d say always prepare for the worst. Have a plan A, B, C, and D. This doesn’t mean don’t be optimistic but being prepared is better than being blind-sided.
As we reflect over the past six-months we really would like to thank everyone who made this year possible. To Jacob Quinlan being there in the early stages helping us develop our website and being our graphic designer, Heather Jackson for taking such killer photos, and all the shops that believed in us enough to invite us into their hometown and community. The relationships that we created along the way have been the most rewarding part of our journey. Every shop or outfitter we’ve taught through has asked us to come back again next year and that, to us, is a big compliment.
Cheers to our sponsors for believing in us and supporting us in our new venture…
Badfish Stand Up Paddle, you guys rock! Thanks for trusting us with the trailer and providing us with the best whitewater and river surfing equipment. Badfish is family! It’s because of your boards that people are experiencing the life-changing feeling of surfing a river wave.
Trigger Point Therapy, thank you for donating boxes upon boxes of your MB5’s. Our clients were stoked to receive them in their goodie bags and learn how to use them. You’re products have kept our bodies in-line and in-check, helping us maintain a happy and healthy body on the road.
Astral Designs, your shoes rock and so do your pfds. Thank you for keeping our feet happy and our bodies afloat.
Healthy Skoop, thank you for being such a huge contributor to our goodie bags! Making it so easy to boast about how awesome your product is. Your superfoods and proteins kept us going during those big pushes from river to river.
Heidi Michele Designs, hats on hats on hats on hats! All the hats!!! Everyone was stoked on your hats. How could they not be? You make designs help us express our love for nature and resonate with all of us.
Werner Paddles, we’ve been all about the Legend this year. Probably the best whitewater paddle to date. And thank you for catering to our little hands with your ‘Small Fit’ paddles. We love that Werner is made in the USA. Werner is a company we are so proud to be representing!
Sol Gear, we can’t thank you enough for providing us with goodie bags that came in all kinds of wicked colors.
Watershed, thank you for providing us with dry bags of all shapes and sizing so we could keep all of our clients stuff warm and dry when out teaching. As another company that makes all their stuff within the USA; we’re pumped to support you. Plus, your drybags are absolutely bomber!
Huppy Bar, you came on as one of our supporters later on and we’re so happy to represent you. You’re one badass chica who loves the river just as much as we do. You care about where your ingredients come from and know that we are what we eat. You, as well, have helped support our life on the road!
Last but not least, a huge thank you to all of our clients. You showed that you were willing to do something for yourself to become a stronger and safer paddler. Some of you drove over 8 hours to take our clinic…what a compliment!! You weren’t the only ones learning at our clinics, you each taught Natali and I something and we are forever grateful. Seeing you all improve over the weekend filled us with so much joy, its those moments that get us through all the hard times and inspire us to keep moving forward. Welcome to the paddling community!!!! We love you all!
Keep checking back for regular blogs from Natali and yours truly. We’re working on our 2017 tour schedule so stay tuned to see if we’re coming to a river near you!
(All Photos by Heather Jackson)
Our blog has been a bit delayed and only because of all the prep that had to take place to get us ready for Outdoor Retailer. After each clinic we write a recap highlighting the place and people that we taught. The Cascade clinic happened about a month ago but was still a memorable one.
Kelly’s Whitewater Park in Cascade, ID holds a special place in our hearts. Between the Payette River Games and the park itself being a perfect place for training we couldn’t not hold a RVR 2 RVR clinic at the park.
We partnered up with the local shop River Gear, the owners are two married avid water enthusiasts out of McCall, ID Kelly and Damon. They set up and organized a BBQ the night before our Intro to Surf clinic; we talked about the future of the whitewater park and hopes of making Kelly’s a regular stop for RVR 2 RVR.
Everyone who showed up had different levels of experience. Some never surfed before and others live right down the road and frequent the park. This would be the first time we’ve held a surf clinic without the river skills lesson on Day 1. Normally this would have proved to make the learning and teaching process rather challenging but everyone was so patient with one another that it went very smoothly.
The wave that we focused on is perfect for teaching, with a smooth entry, big eddie, and whitewater all the way across making it very retentive. For those who surf there regularly they got an opportunity to try more advanced board designs like the Badfish (INSERT LINK) Cobra and River Surfer. We worked on improving their weight distribution to encourage stronger more dramatic turns. It was great to see those light bulb moments that will result in them moving their surfing to the next level.
For some of the beginners it was new for them just to swim in moving current. Jumping into the river was them taking the next step to push past their comfort zones and gain a new respect for the river. We put all the beginners on the Badfish Inflateable River Surfer and by the end of it each paddler was getting into the wave and experiencing their very first surf!!!
We’ve been asked to come back next year with our full curriculum. We love teaching at whitewater parks; it’s the perfect venue and will definitely be back to teach a downriver skills and river surfing course come 2017. Big thanks to River Gear and Kelly’s Whitewater Park for making this clinic such a success! See you next year!
It was a blistering 90 degree day when we rolled into Boise. Blinky (the van) was over the heat and needed to chill for a couple days. Downtown Boise is hip with farm-to-table restaurants, tattoo parlors, and breweries but the city was quiet when we passed through. We made our way to Idaho River Sports and it seemed that all of Boise had retreated to Quinn’s pond. Quinn’s sits catty corner to Boise river’s whitewater park and is one of soon to be four connecting lakes that are currently under construction.
The pond was filled with stand up paddle boards and kids screaming as they playfully jumped off the dock. Idaho River Sport’s (IRS) rental crew was wiping sweat from their faces; for every board that was returned there was someone there ready to take it out. Despite the Summer frenzy the staff was so friendly and welcoming.
IRS provided us with a place to park our vans along with food & beverages for the ‘Can I Surf That’ screening and BBQ the night before the clinic. We were lucky to have the majority of the staff join us for the BBQ as well as some of the core surfers in the Boise river surfing community. It’s been awhile since I’ve watched ‘Can I Surf That’ and seeing everyones excitement from seeing it for the first time made me start wondering if it’s time to pursue part II.
Our flatwater river transitional skills clinic on the Quinn’s began at 9 a.m. The boise adjustable wave was only going to be set for surfing until noon that day. I couldn’t come to Boise and not surf their wave. So I woke up at 4:45 not knowing sunrise wasn’t until 6:15 am. Suited up with my friend and local surfer Brooks Roberts. After about 25 attempts I got a surf, it lasted a glorious two minutes. Thanks to Brooks for helping me break through the mental block of acid dropping into a wave.
Everyone who signed up for the clinic wanted to really fine-tune their paddle strokes essential for river paddling (Draw, Cross-bow, etc..) as well as their foot-work before jumping into the river. It’s amazing how much you can learn on flatwater to prepare yourself for the river. We taught them skills that you should be able to do with your eyes closed before hitting the river.
Big Thanks to Idaho River Sports for being so hospitable and welcoming. We can’t wait to come back when the next phase of the park is finished.
Skookumchuck was our last big trip before the clinic tour was to go back into full-throttle. We spent only five days there and could’ve spent much more. The wather was cool and the air crisp. We woke up to the sound of the sea lapping on the shore, surrounded by pine trees, and small rocky islands.
The village of Egmont is tiny with one pub and a small market. We were removed from service and strong wifi. It was just what we needed to recharge and get excited for upcoming clinic in Bend.
Skook is a tidal rapid. Only coming in during max. flood tide and for two to three hours. The wave is a freak! It’s glassy and tall, you can get the speed off of it like a moving ocean wave. It’s something of an anomaly. We’ll paddle into it from the marina during slack tide when the inlet is quiet; looking at the colorful marine life on the way.
Then we sit and wait, as the tide starts to move in we watch the wave build; starting from a ripple. You’ve got little time to get in there and surf it while it’s building before it hits max. As the wave gets bigger the swim gets gnarlier. Massive whirlpools, boils, and crashing waves build behind it. The swim is a luck of the draw, hanging on to the board, somewhat powerless hoping Skook will be forgiving and let you pass through without a whirl pool forming and taking you for a ride.
My first surf of the trip was great, smooth and fast. I could cut back hard; it felt like my board was slicing through butter. My swim was not so great. All progress I made paddling back into the eddy was shut down as a boil pushed me right back into the eddy line where some of the strongest whirl pools form.
I was gripped! All fours were wrapped around the board as I started spinning closer and closer to the center. Skook wasn’t feeling very merciful as it grabbed my legs and sent me into an underwater spiral. My leash was tight and my board was tombstoning at the surface. It felt like I was getting spun in an underwater tornado. Although I stayed fairly calm in the chaos I was scared as I began to climb my leash trying to reach the surface.
Once it released me I didn’t have time to feel relief or rest, I was back on my board fighting against the boils trying to get to a space where I could catch my breath.
I didn’t get back in the water that day. Laying in bed I kept reliving it, I would drift off to sleep and would wake up unable to breath. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten downtime and probably not the longest. But for some reason this one really shook me. I struggled for the rest of the trip to get back in the water at that same level.
My surf time this trip was pretty small, I wasn’t upset or disappointed. Just surprised to be so deeply effected.
Skook is extremely humbling and also life-changing. You’ll get the best surfs of your life there and maybe some of the worst swims. It’s trying to find the balance between the two. When the surfs are no longer worth the swims that’s when I know it’s time to stop.
It’s been two years since I was last at Skook. My swims were really tame my first year. I’m grateful it happened; I’m stronger because of it. And I can’t wait to go back next year to make peace with it.