Years ago some of Bend’s whitewater crew began having little get-togethers after a long day of work and paddling. You can picture it? A little fire pit, some barbecue and beverages, combined with some Blue Grass styled funky jams? This is the Pickin’ &’ Paddlin’ movement. What started out a few friends sharing songs and stories on the banks of the Deschutes has remained true to its roots, and grown through the years. The vibe is inspiring and motivating. The event has become one of Bend’s most popular evenings.
Despite it’s humble beginnings, this event has become a huge community celebration helping raise funds for Bend Paddle Trail Alliance (BPTA). The BPTA is on a mission to establish a navigable “paddle trail” within Deschutes County, to enhance river and lake recreation opportunities and promote water safety, education and stewardship.
The Outside Games had a chance to speak with Jason Bowerman from the BPTA, and given that he is also one of Bend’s most recognized musicians, we felt it would be appropriate to have him describe the vibe and energy at the event.
“Everyone has a great time at Pickin’ and Paddlin’ from young children up through grandparents. The bands especially love the home-grown feel and intimate connection they feel with the audience, feeding on the crowd energy once the sun goes down and the dancing begins. Its no wonder that many locals say that in a calendar stuffed with events, this is the one they try not to miss each month.”
Come enjoy live music and boat demos on the back lawn of Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. Its only $10 (children 12 and under are free) and all proceeds go directly to BPTA to fund access, restoration and education. Given the popularity of the event, tickets are available for pre-sale to those families and friends who like to plan ahead. Please leave your pets at home for this one. This helps us keep the space feeling comfortable for our the attendees.
We highly recommend using alternate transportation to get here. There is a parking lot but it will fill up fast. The event takes place in the center of town near the Old Mill District, so riding a bike, walking or carpooling is the best choice.
FREE Demos will run from 3 – 6 pm.
Please help spread the good word on this event, before, during and after.
Spread the Pickin’ & Paddlin’ gospel online with your personal social media networks. #SOBOGmusic #SOBOGpickinnpaddlin
The 2018 Desert Orthopedics PaddleBoard Challenge takes place at Riverbend Park in Bend, Oregon and is free to watch. The event is co-presented by Standup Paddle Bend and Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe. Sue Fox, Director of all things SUP for the Subaru Outside Games and Tumalo Creek, is focused on making the SUP events welcoming to all styles of paddle enthusiast. “We are stoked to be part of the Subaru Outside Games and are building on the foundation of this event that will continue to evolve for decades to come.”
The event will be offering races for elite paddlers, recreationalists, beginners and kids. Tumalo Creek and Standup Bend will be building an atmosphere born around paddle culture: showcasing Tahitian dancers and offering equipment demos, tips and instruction. The Bend Paddleboard Challenge will have something for everyone.
All racing will center around Riverbend Community Park and the Old Mill District. The traditional long course race distance will depend on river conditions and sanctioning elements; it should be close to 5-6 miles in length. The short track and sprint races will be back with several surprise elements to fire up the crowd and the competitors.
If you are wondering what type of equipment you may need or should have, the basics are simple. Most elite racers will be riding a 14(ish) foot sanctioned race board. The displaced hull and aerospace construction provide a board that glides extremely well through the water but will not have the lateral stability that most common touring and surf style boards have. These boards are light and very fast. There will be events designed for recreational designs, so don’t fret if you are more keen on the surf style vibe.
Sue’s enthusiasm for the SUP events is infectious. This community-driven woman upholds many of the Outside Games’ values, most particularly our goal to build inclusive events where everyone is welcome, regardless of your particular style, shape or focus. All participants with paid entry receive entry into the product raffles, potential podium time and access to the event luncheon.
Interested in spreading the good will around the SUP events on your social media?
Register is day of only from 9-10am at McKay Park with competitors meeting at 10:30am on the island. Fun and best trick comp from 11-1pm. Finals and surf bucket challenge, 1:30-3pm. Wrap up and clean-up, 4-5pm. Awards and BBQ at Tumalo Creek, 5-7:30pm.
Since inception, the four standing waves of the central channel in Bend’s landmark Whitewater Park have ushered and welcomed river goers novice to expert. The Subaru of Bend Outside Games and the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance (BPTA) invites one and all to the second annual Whitewater Festival where paddlers can celebrate and showcase their skills.
Home town throw down style, a judge will be at each feature grading for categories like best rider and trick. Spectators will enjoy play by play announcement, identify competitors by bib numbers and see SUPers on Jason’s, surfers and boogie boarders on The Green and kayakers on all waves. The surf community has shared that the Green wave is usually optimal in the winter; thus most advanced tricks and moves can be seen then.
“Bend’s is a Whitewater Festival is a reflection of the kayaking and surf culture; A fun and informal expo of the talented water enthusiasts in Central Oregon,” says Geoff Frank, lifelong kayaker and Owner/Operator of Tumalo Creek. “It has been amazing to see the swell of positive energy created at Pickin’ & Paddlin’ over the fundraising years barrel roll over into the comradery and inclusive energy felt when paddling in the park. Celebrating the river, celebrating the transformation of the dangerous Colorado Spillway into a community asset for novices, families and elite paddlers, that’s what this event is all about.”
Michelle Healy, of Bend Parks and Rec echos this sentiment saying, “[the Whitewater Festival] demonstrates and shares with the public the uniqueness of the feature[s] and the amazing community of users and their relationships at the park. There is a camaraderie and special culture developing down there.”
It may surprise some Bendites to know the story of the Whitewater Play Park started approximately fifteen years ago. Through a staple fundraiser and cult-classic local concert series Pickin’ & Paddlin’, the BPTA was able to raise over a million dollars of private funds to contribute to bond measure 9-86, one of the largest cash donations to a public project in Bend’s history. Among the spillway renovations the bond measure included other community building projects like the skating rink, a southeast area park, Pine Nursery recreational fields expansion and and various trail connections.
Spread the Whitewater Festival stoke online with your personal social media networks. #SOBOGsurf #SOBOGwhitewater