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2016 is a Wrap!

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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!_r6a6483

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!_r6a7439

(All Photos by Heather Jackson)

Kelly’s Whitewater Park: SUP River Surfing Clinic

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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!

Boise Clinic Re-Cap

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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.Screen Shot 2016-07-21 at 9.42.20 AM

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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.

Bend Clinic Re-Cap

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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.

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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.

 

 

The Skookumchuck Shut Down

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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.
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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. IMG_5420

2016 River Racing Recap

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Photo Credit: Jordan Curet of Women’s Gear Guide

Team RVR 2 RVR is officially done competing for the whitewater race season. We have had a hell of a time training, racing, swimming, and cheers-ing our competitors both on and off the water. It has been really rewarding seeing the sport grow so fast. Our race courses are getting harder, and the athletes are stepping up and dominating the challenge.

Dan Gavere and his team, created a new event this year at the Go Pro Mountain Games, called the Sup Skills Invitational. The course looked similar to a Sup Slalom course where you have strategic gates placed throughout a stretch of river and are timed on how fast you can paddle around them and the other features.

Athletes from around the world were invited to prove their skills and abilities to navigate the course with the speed and fluidity. It was such a fun event, and RVR 2 RVR co-founder/instructor, Natali Zollinger ended up displaying what it means to understand and paddle whitewater with her 1st place win in this event. Other podiums that weekend came from another RVR 2 RVR Instructor, Nadia Almuti, with her 3rd place podium spot in the Sup Cross event.

That next weekend, the team drove to Salida to attend FIBArk, America’s Oldest Whitewater Festival and the first ever, Colorado Sup Championships. The Salida Whitewater Park is one of the funnest and most challenging parks we get to race on. The weekend started with a surf competition on Friday, Sup cross competition on Saturday, and 10 mile Downriver Sprint on Sunday. Team RVR 2 RVR, came out on top with Natali Zollinger placing 2nd in Sup Cross, and 2nd overall for the Colorado Sup Championships with Nadia Almuti right next to her with a 3rd place overall.

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We are officially done with the Whitewater Race Season, and are looking forward to the next two months of clinics. But first, we are rewarding ourselves with a short break from social media and are headed up to chase the legendary Skookumchuck wave that was in the film “Can I Surf That” (available for download).

Check out the rest of our tour schedule and sign up today, spots are filling up fast! We hope to see you on the water!

JULY

8-10 Bend, OR

15-16 Boise, ID

17 Cascade, ID  (Surf Clinic)

22-24 Whitefish, MT

29-31 Missoula, MT

AUGUST

12-14 Glenwood Springs, CO

19-21 Moab, UT

We hope to paddle with you soon!

Until then…here’s to Health, Highwater, and the Pursuit of Happiness

We Are River Surfers!

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The Colorado rivers are a dirty brown and full of debris; the rivers are on the rise, it’s time to grab your surfboards. Welcome to the Colorado highwater season. This is the time of year when everyone comes out of the woodwork to surf the Glenwood Wave. I’ve been camped out at the wave for the past week and I’ve seen so many familiar faces; some locals and some traveling from places as far as Japan.

Glenwood attracts all kinds of people some of them ocean surfers surfing a river wave for the first time and others who leave the coast every year to enjoy the endless wave. I’m always interested in knowing how others feel the river compares to the ocean; is it scarier or more challenging? I was talking to a friend from Santa Cruz, as we sat on the bank in our wetsuits catching our breath after the long swim, he said
“I’m way more afraid of this than I am the ocean.”

Coming from someone who surfs at one of the sharkiest points on the California coast this statement surprised me. This shows how different the two worlds are. In the ocean you know the wave will always let you go, waves build, crash, then disappear. In the river everything is stationary besides the current. The river presents hazards such as recirculation, foot entrapments, and pins. These are all dangers that I feel I can avoid, for the most part. Identifying holes that will recirculate and avoiding them, not putting my feet down in moving current that’s up past my knees, and swimming away from possible pin situations. I’m in control as much as someone in a 17,000 CFS river can be in control. My experience enables me to be comfortable in the river. Just like an ocean surfer’s experience allows them to be comfortable in the ocean.

But sharks, man, it may be an irrational fear but it definitely exists. When I expressed this to my friend he assured me there were ways to mitigate the risk,
“Avoid murky water and refrain from going out during or after a good rain as this is when food and nutrients get mixed up and sharks are more likely to be feeding.”

I had no idea.

Later that day I was talking to another friend from California, he had some really nice things to say about the river surfing world. Him and his crew come up for GoPro Mountain Games every year and they always make it a point to stop in Glenwood to surf. He told me,
“I love stopping here because the crew is always so positive, everyone’s cheering each other on, people are chatting each other up in the line-up. It’s just so different from what you get in the ocean.”

I love getting different perspectives on river surfing from people who come from a world so different and so far from ours. At the end of the day we are all there for our love of surfing, for that sweet feeling of gliding across the surface, of being moved by the forces of the water…and in that we are exactly the same.

We are river surfers!

-BP

CKS Paddlefest Recap

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CKS Paddlefest was this passed weekend and the RVR 2 RVR Crew rolled in to train, paddle, surf, and teach. Staircase wave was our first stop to dip our fins in the water and connect with the river. Buena Vista is an awesome town that has a cool and hip vibe. Their whitewater park is legit, and home to some fun waves to shred on.

A surf competition started the event festivities off with a bang and a huge turnout! They were able to fill the two divisions of both amateur and pro for both men and women providing some stout competition for the wave.

Team Badfish swept both podiums giving the crowd some exciting entertainment. For the women’s pro division, Natali Zollinger ranked 3rd, Brittany Parker ranked 2nd, and their new team rider, Vanessa Taylor came in first with a solid performance stemming from her background of training on the Animas River in Durango, Colorado. For the men’s pro division, Team Badfish also swept the podium with Mike Tavaras in 3rd, Spencer Lacey in 2nd, and Miles Harvey placing 1st.

Saturday morning the locals and tourists started to filter in and the event was off to a strong start. The store was packed, the pond was full, and the river park was busy with vendors, music, and athletes training and competing on the water. The SUP Downhill race started at 6pm and there were over 20 paddlers on the water looking to claim that $75 dollar podium cash as their own.

The women’s heat started first since their were only 5 paddlers who entered the race. They decided the first heat would determine the seeding for the 2nd and final heat. The buzzer went off, the crowed started to cheer, and the women’s race was off! Natali Zollinger had a solid performance coming in 1st, with Cami Swan in 2nd, Jenny MacArthur in 3rd, Trinity Wall in 4th, and Nadia Almuti in 5th. After all the men went through to determine their final heat, the women were up again to decide their podium places. After another strong finish, Natali Zollinger came in 1st again, following by Jenny MacArthur in 2nd, and Nadia Almuti in 3rd.

For the men, the final heat consisted of Bradley Hilton, Mike Tavaras, Spencer Lacey, and Bodhi Harrison, all Team Badfish Riders racing the new 11′ Inflatable Hole shot board. After a crowd pleasing performance, Bradley Hilton managed to hold the lead the whole race coming in 1st, followed by Mike Tavaras in 2nd, Spencer Lacey in 3rd, and Bodhi Harrison in 4th.

Sunday Morning turned out to be a great day for the festival bringing in sunshine, blue skies, and happy paddlers. Natali Zollinger led a Sup Maneuvers course through RMOC with one of their top sup instructors, Josh Oberleas. They started across from RMOC at Hecla Juction to introduce the new paddlers to current, ferry’s, peelouts, and eddy turns. After lunch, they took the group to Salida Whitewater Park to put their new skills to the test with stronger current, bigger eddy’s, and more features. The group did well, and now they have a ton of skills to practice for the summer.

Overall, we had an awesome time, met a lot of new faces, and are excited about this summer’s events. The community around the river is contagious, and if you haven’t had a chance to be part of it, we challenge you to join us and jump right in to ride the mountain swell.

Building a Foundation

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We are dedicated to helping the growth of stand up paddling and river surfing. Learning how to stand up paddle on rivers is not easy. There are many things to take into account; currents, eddy lines, rocks, waves, etc.. Teaching our students to work with these elements in a way that’s free of panic and resistance is our goal.

Our teaching outline was built off wanting to give people the skills to navigate rivers efficiently and safely which in turn will transition into river surfing on a stand up. There is so much enthusiasm built around river surfing and we couldn’t be more happy about that but we’ve got to build the foundation before we can get you on a river wave.

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The first day of our clinics is building that foundation. We work on ferrys, eddy turns, peel outs, and much more. These are skills that you must have before you can even begin to think about river surfing. These fundamentals will increase your success rate by 80%.

When Natali and I took our Level 3 ACA course we learned a lot, there were pieces of our very basic skills that we were missing. Even if you’ve been paddling for years I can almost always guarantee there’s some fundamental skill that could use some fine tuning. You’ll be able to navigate rivers safely and look like a boss doing it. Trust the process and join us!

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*All Photo Credit: Heather Jackson with Shrednest Productions

Mastering your Skills

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If you want to learn something, read about it. If you want to understand something, write about it. If you want to master something, teach it. -Yogi Bhajan

Brittany and I (Natali) love the river. It feeds our souls, challenges our bodies, and humbles our egos. Our desire to provide a community and space to help others understand this connection is what drove us in starting RVR 2 RVR. It was created out of that deeper relationship to the water.

It’s always been important for us to learn from the right teachers and certify under the right sources to better provide and grow a common language around the river. That is why we chose the American Canoe Association to be the certifying entity. The ACA has grown into the nation’s largest and most active nonprofit paddlesports organization across the U.S. for over 130 years. Through the tireless efforts of volunteers, committee members, board members, clubs and staff, the ACA continues to work at the grassroots, regional and national levels to promote fun and responsible canoeing, kayaking, rafting and stand up paddleboarding and advocacy for recreational access and stewardship of America’s waterways.

We’ve moved our way up the ladder these last few years and finally achieved our Level 3 Sup Instructor Trainer Certification. Both Brittany and I have been taught by our good friend and river legend, Charlie Macarthur. He has many years instructing in the outdoor industry and high standards when it comes to passing his students. We both value and respect his method and are honored when we got his thumbs up of approval.

We’re very proud to have obtained this certification, the holy grail of river SUP certs. We were nervous as hell but gave it our all, we pushed through the discomfort, and came out stronger more confident instructors.

The ACA level 1-3 course is one we would recommend to anyone with a desire to be a flatwater and/or river instructor. Big thanks again to Charlie Macarthur and all he has done for the growth of river stand up paddling.