Stand-Up Paddleboarding on Oregon’s Deschutes River

Back in the 60s, surfing instructors in Waikiki Beach used to give mainlanders a taste of their sport by placing them on longboards and handing them paddles to help with their balance. It was more of a gimmick, used as a ruse to take photographs. Then surfing giant Laird Hamilton picked up a paddle to help him master the monster waves, and voila, welcome to stand-up paddleboarding or SUP. Balancing is easier on the longboards, which average 12 feet in length compared to the standard 8 ½-foot surfboard. SUP has evolved quickly, crossing the ocean and landing in flatwater environs like rivers and lakes that are normally reserved for canoes and kayaks. Along with aerial adventure parks and kitesurfing, SUP is one of the many recent sports to finds its way into Oregon. One of the best places to sample stand-up paddleboarding is on the Deschutes River. Sun Country Outfitters in Bend offer 2-hour lessons and rentals.