Downtown PDX in the background on what turned out to be a mild summer day. Gorgeous!

Downtown PDX in the background on what turned out to be a mild summer day. Gorgeous!

Not only is the Ross Island Loop our staple paddle of choice this summer, it also helps define what it is like to standup paddle board in Portland, Oregon. The north tip of Ross Island faces a convincing view of “Bridge City” (although City of Roses and RIP City are also favorite city slogans around here). On a warm summer day, and yes, on occasion they do show up in Oregon, paddling about in a high 70’s river and mid-80’s air is a SUP paradise. Tonight was far from mid-80’s but the cooler evening didn’t degrade from the quality of the paddle and the reward of a wonderful sunset view from the tip of Ross Island. I have passed this spot more times than I want to count in the past 6 months but I’m still enjoying this definitive view of PDX.


I have not yet been able to try this on but come Fall you bet I’ll be picking some of this protective wear up for my wife and I. If you have tried ProMotion Exosuits or SUP wetsuits please drop me a line and let me know what you think!

From their product description, which sounds VERY appealing come wintertime:

“It’s not a wetsuit and it’s not a rash guard. While it might be hard to classify this stuff, we promise that once you go Exo, you’ll never go back. All of us here at ProMotion World Headquarters are hooked and we’ve never met anyone who would willingly give theirs up. The material has a urethane outer skin that’s bonded to a micro fleece interior. Here’s the deal… It’s very lightweight, completely wind-proof, surprisingly warm and exceptionally comfortable due to the improved stretch and loose fitting design. What more can you ask for?”

#exoskin #winterSUP

SUP Picnic Table

SUP picnic tables work great!

As it turns out, SUPs have all kinds of uses. We recently ventured to Timothy Lake and found it was challenging to find a suitable place to pull  four paddle boards over without there being trees or steep bank preventing us from safely climbing out. So Beverly decided instead to make her SUP a kitchen counter to prepare and serve lunch.

Later on that afternoon, Zack was the first to poop out from the days adventure and decided to have a little shut eye in the middle of the lake. Inflatable SUPs are better at a few things compared to hard boards and napping tops the list of inflatable advantages! In an apples-to-apples nap comparison I think it’s safe to say inflatable boards are the most comfortable as compared to their fiberglass/carbon fiber brethren. Zack would agree.


Inflatable SUPs make great beds












I was doing a search tonight on ‘good upwinding techniques’ and found a 2012 article written by/for Laird Hamilton about upwinding.

Sometimes it feels like both directions is upwind.

Sometimes it feels like both directions is upwind.

It’s got some good points I’ll summarize as well but I was equally stoked to find I already do the recommended techniques (Woohoo!). Sadly, I still don’t particularly like upwinding although I do agree with Laird that if I need a workout, a really good workout, upwinding is the ticket any time. It’s a short article but has some really good points.

  • Move forward on your board. Less bounce and more swell penetration makes for a smoother ride and more consistent momentum.
  • Stay low. Take a lower grip on your paddle and try to be as small a sail in the wind as possible.
  • Go straight into the wind. Any off angle direction will waste your energy and lessen your stability.
  • If/when your back starts hurting, adjust your grip to activate different muscle groups.

  • Turn your blade sideways on the back stroke. I do this and am always impressed by the energy savings I get from simply disallowing wind resistance against my paddle!
  • Take short, strong paddles to maintain momentum. Long paddles require a longer reset which costs forward momentum especially into wind
  • Finally, my personal inclusion into this list of tips: Drop to your knees to eliminate wind resistance and give muscle groups a break.
  • A good sign it's going to be an upwinder...

    A good sign it’s going to be an upwinder…

Please pass along any techniques you use too, I can always use more tips in my arsenal when heading into the wind!

I’m busy on logging SUP routes. I’m really impressed with and have enjoyed using it to check mileage and create new SUP adventures using their maps and tools. I’ll be linking to the site a lot in the future for reference to our SUP locations so check it out soon!