When I say Bend, Oregon what’s the first thing to come to mind? Is it craft beer? Mountain biking? Trail Running? What about surfing? Bend has got it going on in all of these areas, it’s an outdoor junkies utopia. Really, I don’t know what Bend doesn’t have! Which is why we came back for another RVR 2 RVR clinic, we try to add new locations each year but there are some places that call to us to come back and Bend is one of them.
The town always welcomes us with open arms and this time was no exception. The first thing I did was put on the wetsuit, grab my Badfish Sk8, and hit the new and improved surf wave at the Bend Whitewater Park. As to be expected amongst the river surf community all the surfers were so gracious, they gave me tips, and cheered me on when I finally figured out the complicated drop-in method and got my first surf in. I was buzzing and obsessed. My arms were telling me no but the sweet green wave was telling me “Come on, just one more.”.
After feeding the surf bug we cruised over to Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, a hop and skip upstream of the whitewater park, to meet our students for the weekend. Tumalo has been a huge player in the growth of the paddling community in Bend which makes them the ideal shop for us to partner with. If you’re ever in the area and need to rent or purchase any paddling gear Tumalo will stoke you out with all the latest stuff. Their staff is extremely knowledgable and passionate about everything paddling.
One of the most important things to us when teaching in a town is promoting local business and putting as much back into the community as possible. For our meet-and-greets we’ll partner up with a local brewery or restaurant to host the event. Craft Kitchen & Brewery has a great community atmosphere with big tables for community seating or big groups. They set us up with some growlers of their delicious beers and were so accommodating and patient with our big group.
We’ve introduced a new element to our clinics this year and that’s pre and post Trigger Point Therapy guided mobility sessions. Injury prevention is just as much part of paddling as the paddling itself. Trigger Point has hooked each one of our students up with a full on recovery kit (foam rollers, MB2, MB5). We spent each morning with a pre-paddling roll-out session. Each student felt that this cut down on their expected soreness from the day on the water.
The middle channel of the Bend Park has features that are adjustable and are all controlled from our friend and Bend Park’s Waveshaper (yes, that’s his job title) Ryan Roberts. During our clinic on Sunday we go over holes vs. waves and how to identify a friendly and unfriendly hole. Never have we had the ability to be at one feature and watch the transformation from a wave, to a hole, to an unfriendly hole until Bend. Ryan took time out of his day to explain these different wave features while adjusting the bladders in the park to give our students a perfect visualization of how and why a feature behaves like it does and what it looks like. Big thanks to Ryan and Bend Parks and Rec!
Our group consisted of a few Bend locals, one of the only sup paddlers in Reno, and a return client from Portland. We dialed in their strokes, had them bracing, running some of the bigger features, and surfing river waves (some for the very first time).
Our Sunday got a little chilly but Palate coffee shop saved the day and provided us with a carafe of hot coffee for our clients. Palate is a small house converted into a coffee shop located on NW Colorado Ave and Bond Street. It is the embodiment of quaint and cozy. The wooden floor boards creek beneath your feet as you walk into the intimate perfectly lit space. The owners and staff are as warm as the red brick fireplace that burns in the corner. We’ve spent a lot of time in coffee shops all across the country and Palate sits in our top five.
Seeing our vision come to life with every clinic is so gratifying. Every town we visit it feels as though we leave a little bit of ourselves with the community. Bend feels like a second home to us and we can’t wait to come back!