River Surfing: A moving water adrenalin rush!

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River surfing can be a fast water ride or a fun technical challenge depending on the current and size of waves. It's not for everyone; it takes a degree of fearlessness, strength, endurance, stamina and of course excellent balance. Surfing on rivers is on the extreme end of stand up paddling disciplines, a true rush for those who take up a river paddle board to ride the current. 

A river can be a wild thing, and this kind of surfing means knowing what you may encounter. From a safety standpoint, it’s important to know the lay of the river, including submerged objects such as rocks, pilings, and deadheads, as well as characteristics of the river, from gentle flow to rapids. Understanding the river you’re on is essential to SUP safety.

Standing waves are just one aspect of the discipline that’s unique to this type of water. According to Wikipedia, [the wave is stationary on the river, caused by a high volume of water constricted by flowing over a rock and creating a wave behind. It is a form of hydraulic jump. A river surfer can face up-stream and catch this wave and have the feeling of traveling fast over water while not actually moving.] 

Another phenomena that presents unique opportunities for surfing on rivers are tidal bores, which occur in relatively few locations worldwide, and usually in areas with a large tidal range. Incoming tides are funnelled from a broad bay into a shallow, narrowing river via a broad bay. What you get is a sudden increase in the water level--and for some, surf heaven.  

Check out the videos below, and see get ready for a vicarious adrenalin rush. There are some wild rides here!

Badfish gives excellent insider information about using specific fins for river SUPing.

The following link gives good safety tips for Whitewater river surfing along with instruction

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Surfing on rivers - video from around the world


Ken Hoeve for SUP Mag

Talking passionately about white water river paddling and how competition is absorbing the sport.

Riding the waves of the Potomac River, Washington DC, U.S.A. - That's real river surf.


Puntledge River Frestival, CourtneyB.C. Canada

A frestival is a festival + a river

River surfing at Skookumchuck Narrows, B.C. 

Manitoba, Canada Park surf.


Fun video from Nakhon Nayok rapids near Khao Yai National Park, North East of Bangkok.


River paddle surfing in Bavaria

Orland, Flordia

Looking for more rush? Check out SUP downwinders.

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