Summer. It’s Good


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!

About the author

A lifelong surfer and now a regular SUP'r, Brett has lived in Portland, Oregon for 16 years. With a lifetime of shoulder wear from paddling, SUP was a logical transition to keep him on the water. Now he SUP surfs, downwinds, races, and recreationally paddles with friends and family as much as life will allow.