After Canada, we ventured south to Oregon…the land of hops and ales. Based southeast of Mount Hood with the famous Deschutes River flowing through it, Bend Oregon is a really cool town with a booming community and hip vibe.
Our first stop was to meet one of our students, Gregory Dixon, a professional Tele Ski Instructor for the PSIA, and a really great person to know. He opened up his space to our gypsy crew and made us feel right at home. After we completely overtook his house with rounds of laundry from our Skookumchuck adventures and power drainage from all of our devices needing to get recharged, we onewheeled over to Tumalo Creek Canoe and Kayak to meet Sue, our connection to the shop and one of our other students in the course.
Tumalo Creek Canoe and Kayak is right on the Deschutes River, and a stones throw away from the Bend Whitewater Park. They offer rentals for every water craft you can imagine, and are fully stocked with any and all items to help you outfit your next water adventure. We decided to meet up there first, let the students purchase any last minute items for the weekend, and then walked next door to Craft Kitchen and Brewery, where we planned our Meet and Greet. The shop really helped us spread the word to the community about our clinic, and we were happy with the turnout.
In our clinic was Sue Fox, one of the head honchos for Tumalo, and her employee, Greg Dixon. Also we had Angela Salido, who lives right on the river with her partner who helped support part of the planning for the whitewater park. Next we had Heidi Michele and her partner Brock Butterfield, 2 avid bus enthusiasts who had recently re-located to Oak Ridge Oregon, a small yet booming town for mountain biking and all things adventure. They invited their friend, Megan Jarvis, a local who had only been on a sup a few times, and shocked us with how quickly she improved in just a few days. We had several others drive from northern oregon to increase their whitewater/surf skills, both Cheryl Johnson and Leilani Gibson took on the major trek to join us for the weekend. Our last paddler, Kenny Good, heard about our clinics and decided to drive the many hours from Reno, NV to build his skills to shred at his local spot, Sparks Whitewater Park on the Truckee River.
The weather for the weekend looked to be a bit chilly, but ended up being an advantage for us considering the park wasn’t as busy and we were able to have it mostly to ourselves. Day 1 was all about getting the crew dialed on their whitewater skills including ferries, peel-outs, and eddy turns to help their successes for surfing. Day 2, Brittany educated them on fins, types of sup surf boards, and how to read friendly/unfriendly waves. We started the crew at a pretty small wave on their knees so they could get comfortable with entry, edging, and swimming back to the eddy. After lunch, the crew was eager to stand up and try their best at surfing the bottom wave in the main surf channel of the park.
We had great success and every single person was able to get their surf on. There’s something magical about seeing the spark in someone’s eye right after their first surf. It brings out a sense of child like giddiness that doesn’t really go away. We call it PERMA-SMILE. It’s contagious and it’s all you can think about until your next ride. Everyone caught the surf bug that day, “Just one more” was all we heard until the cold set in and forced them to stop.
We couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to come together and support one another throughout the weekend. Seeing the communities grow around the parks is really exciting for us. This was the vision we had when we first created RVR 2 RVR, and the hopes that we could be part of that growth. We can’t wait to come back to Bend, to spend more time on the river getting to know the locals and the latest and tastiest beer. Tumalo Creek was such a great shop to collaborate with, and you better believe we’ll be back next spring to hang out and surf with them again.