SUPpers and a panorama of downtown Portland, Oregon

There’s no better use of one’s time in PDX on a warm summer day than surfing boat wakes all afternoon. With Russel Peart and Brett Downen

Summer is here and the river is calling! Ross Island has been the ad hoc meet up site for about a month now with many familiar faces stopping by the south end to say hi, talk shop, and head out in larger packs to play and recreate. The north end of the island doesn’t get quite the visitation as the south end due to dominant winds and the fact it’s the further point of the island from the two most popular put-ins on the Willamette River. With river levels dipping dangerously low though, the north end is picking up all kinds of fun boat wake swells that normally wouldn’t maintain the power to propel paddleboards. They’re out there though! Both sides of the narrow strand have plenty of recreational boat traffic creating enough small swells to make a go of it. It’s a ridiculously silly pastime but it’s also a fantastic method of exercising while you smile and laugh and take the occasional dip.

Ross Island sunset SUP paddlers

SUPers relaxing in the warm sands of Ross Island. With Hill Taylor, Rob Leeds, and Brett Downen

The south tip of the island is the social spot. Located not a quarter mile a away from Willamette Park, the most popular put-in around Portland, the short beach (bigger now with lower river levels) is an excellent location to relax in the sun away from the usual throngs visiting the river parks. There are several boats anchored in the small bay, which is also quite shallow this season, so a somewhat more safe area for newbs to paddle around without the fear of being run down by powerboats. The warm sand of the south beach is also an ideal venue to crunch sand between your toes while you watch the sunset while sipping your favorite portable beverage.

If you happen to be doing a leisurely paddle around the area and happen to see a few paddleboards lying on the beach, feel free to stop by and say hi! We’re a friendly bunch and sometimes even have a spare beverage!

This is about as exciting as a SUP race gets, an open ocean downwind (hopefully!) challenge. 7-8 miles in open ocean, choose your course, on the Oregon coast??? This time of year the Pacific tends to mellow out a bit but the Oregon Coast is an unpredictable spot at the best of times. Swells this time of year vary from southwest to north-northwest, wind conditions generally from the northwest, and strong in the midday. For those not experienced in open ocean SUP, there’s a 7 MILE bay course that also happens to be pointing up river the entire way. Check out their website, there’s discount camping available and registration discount if you register for both events. I’d imagine the group campsite will also be a festive destination to say the least =) And oh yeah, Gerry Lopez races in this event, how cool is that???

Oregon Open Ocean SUP RACE

Oregon Open Ocean SUP 2015






There’s a couple of bald eagles nested somewhere around Ross Island. In the past week they have been hunting in the late afternoon, so they’ve been hanging around during post-work paddle time. I’ve seen bald eagles far more often in the past few months than ever before in the Portland area but still, it never gets old.





Illegally parked on an empty private pier while we enjoy a cool beverage.

Illegally parked on an empty private pier while we enjoy a cool beverage.

I didn’t have time to head to the Gorge today for some downwinding due to prior obligations so I planned on staying local for some solid paddling on the hottest day so far of the year. With most PDX spots already blown out at 10am, we headed to Hebb Park in the hills of West Linn. For geographic reasons unknown (and unresearched) by me, Hebb stays glassier longer than most other spots I know. Rob and I paddled west for about 90 minutes, meandering this way and that, occasionally breaking out some sprints, and just having a relaxing Saturday. I’m keeping Hebb on my radar this summer, it’s out of the way a little but it’s a nice place for a quiet morning paddle.