When I went out to Hood River a couple of weeks ago to try stand-up paddling on the Columbia, I have to say, I was a little wary. That’s a big river out there! What if I fell in? What if I couldn’t keep up with the current? I’m used to the ocean – isn’t it harder to float on fresh water?!
But on this sunny day I was happy to discover how easy stand-up paddling is. Almost TOO easy. Paddling one of these huge surfboards is all about balance. Despite the fact that this sport was developed by pro surfers, “SUP-ing” is actually a really peaceful activity. Once you get going, gliding along the water feels like a breeze. It’s the perfect thing to do with a group of friends – paddle out, chat, and take in the beauty of the Gorge.
Big Winds in Hood River is a one-stop shop for everything water sports. They have rentals and offer lessons in stand-up paddling, kite boarding and windsurfing. Even better – all summer long, they have a stand-up rental shop at the waterfront*, so you can just walk up, rent a board and paddle out. And if you get hooked, Big Winds has regular classes and clinics every week…
*Just call first to make sure they’re open on the day you’re visiting.