Editors note: Due to wildfires in the Columbia River Gorge, Interstate 84 is closed from Troutdale (milepost 17) to Hood River (milepost 62) through at least Sept. 17. Alternate routes to access the gorge include taking U.S. 26 East, followed by Route 35 North toward Hood River. A second option is to take Interstate-5 North toward Seattle, followed by Route 14 East, over the Hood River Bridge and onto Route 35 South.
Kayaking, sailing, white-water rafting, surfing and lazy river floating have been around for ages. A newer sport is becoming popular at dozens of boat launches and docks around Portland: stand-up paddle boarding (SUP). Using a longboard, a carbon-fiber paddle and a good amount of balance, SUP offers a fresh perspective on the water.
Whether you’re an experienced SUP’er or a curious newbie, the Portland area has plenty to offer on a hot summer day (or any day with the right wetsuit). Read on to learn how and where to stand-up paddle board in Portland.
SUP CLASSES IN PORTLAND
A one-on-one session or group class is a great way to learn the technique of standing upright on your board. Beginners will gain local river knowledge, perfect their paddle stroke and enjoy the water with experienced pros.
Gorge Performance offers private beginner and intermediate classes on the Willamette River for individuals, couples and small groups. Classes run from late spring to early fall.
Next Adventure offers Paddle Sport Programs at Sellwood Riverfront Park and the Scappoose Bay Paddling Center, located 25 minutes west of Portland on the Columbia River. Course offerings include quick-start classes to get you comfortable on a board in no time. They also offer guided tours of the interconnected waterways at Smith and Bybee Lakes (plus lunch!).
Alder Creek Kayak, Canoe, Raft, & SUP offers a full calendar of classes with launches in Portland, Lake Oswego and Pacific City on the Oregon coast.
Youngsters aged 8–16 can also get in on the fun with the summer Kids Camp SUPfari from SUPortland. The two-hour camp adventure includes stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, treasure hunting, games, eco-awareness and water safety, all for only $99.
SUP RENTALS IN PORTLAND
Once you’re ready to head out on your own, local shops offer plenty of ways to get SUPing. Portland Kayak Company provides rentals from two hours to two days. Gorge Performance offers rentals, as well as a frequently updated guide to the area’s best launch sites. (Prime spots include George Rogers Park, Clackamette Cove, Cathedral Park and Henry Hagg Lake.)
East of Portland, Hood River is a popular destination for paddle and wind sports. Head to 2nd Wind Sports for supplies and second-to-none advice. And be sure to stop at Double Mountain Brewery for post-paddle pizza and pints.
Stand-up paddle boarding isn’t just an engaging way to travel from point A to point B. You can also hop onboard to add a new dimension to your downward dog and tree pose. SUP yoga classes are growing in popularity as more yogis discover the challenge and fun of balancing on a paddleboard. Next Adventure offers SUP yoga classes on the Willamette at Sellwood Riverfront Park. These include private sessions for one-on-one asana instruction and indoor classes at the Columbia Pool during cooler months.