River Surfing Basics On Your Paddle Board

River expert Mike Tavares river surfing. | Photo: Mike Tavares River expert Mike Tavares river surfing. | Photo: Mike Tavares

SALIDA, Colorado - River surfing expert and pro Mike Tavares shares a few helpful hints on how to get in and out of a wave while on the river. Here, Mike goes over a few basics and things to know about the river, gear needed and tips on entry and exit from the wave. Check it out:

Necessary gear for surfing on the river:

  • Board
  • Paddle
  • Releasable leash (easily releases from your body if you get snagged on something)
  • Soft flex fins
  • PFD
  • Drysuit or wetsuit
  • Helmet

Here are a few of the basics:

When referring to the river, terms used are ‘river left’ and ‘river right’ and it’s always as you are facing downstream when you’re talking about the river. Next, the wave is in the center of the river where the current is moving downstream and with the eddys on both sides of the river which are generally the calm areas of the river that you use to get into the wave or where you exit the river. Lastly, there are shoulders to the wave and they are feeding laterally into the wave and you use those as you are surfing onto the wave.

Tips for successfully getting onto the wave every time:


1. Pick up speed.

It is really important to pick up a lot of speed as much as you can and maintain that momentum when you’re thrusting across that wave shoulder onto the wave.

2. Pick the sweet spot.

Make sure to pick the sweet spot when you’re peeling onto the wave. The sweet spot is going to be right in the middle of the shoulder. Here, think about putting the nose of the board right into the trough of the wave. If you go too high on the foam pile, you’re going to fall off the back and if you’re too far away from the wave then you’re not going to make it on the wave.

3. Have the correct angle.

Make sure to have your board at the correct angle when you’re busting onto the wave. If you think about twelve o’clock being directly upstream, depending on which side, river left or river right you’re coming in from, you’re going to want to have one o’clock or an eleven o’clock angle. Keep that angle really high so that you can basically slide onto the wave.

4. Exit the wave.

Prepare yourself because when you exit the wave you will be swimming in the river. For the exit, you can either get on your board and paddle it back to shore, or, you can just start swimming to get to the shore. Depending on where you are, one of these options will be easier and faster than the other in getting you safely to shore.

To see these tips and steps in action watch the video from Boardworks and Badfish SUP below.

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Last modified onFriday, 13 March 2020 14:46
Mike Tavares

USA - Mike Tavares is the ultimate river expert. As a modern-day nomad, Mike travels throughout the North American Continent with his side-kick Shred-dog and they explore rivers and lakes at every chance they get. Mike has the knowledge and expertise of a river master that can only be obtained by years and years of experience.

Website: https://www.facebook.com/rivershred?fref=ts Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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