River Surfer Designs and Trends... - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 09-11-2017   #1
 
dgoods's Avatar
 
Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
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River Surfer Designs and Trends...

I'm curious to know who out there has switched gears from a river surfing sup to more of a river surfboard.

There are areas all around the West that are turning into landlocked surf destinations: Bend, Boise, Missoula, Jackson,not to mention so many of the places in Colorado. Some spots like Lunch Counter near J-hole have been surfing hot spots for years and old footage of these spots shows guys on ocean boards tearing it up...

But what about the Colorado scene? I've made excellent progress this summer on my Badfish River Surfer here at the play park in Montrose, but the board is limited. Many people simply stand on their boards and are stagnant. Sure, a Badfish board will carve across the face of the wave and can camp out on a wave for as long as it takes to eat a ham sandwich...but...

What about long surfs with aggressive carving, fast cut backs and high speed carves? A 30-34" wide board can't do this. An 18" board can't maintain long surfs on mushy waves. Where's the middle ground?

So, what is there? Strongwater boards out of Missoula, Peterson Boards out of Boise, Tuf Riverboards out of Minnesota... Each with a different philosophy regarding what the next phase of a river surfboard should be--based on their local surf waves or even Lake Superior...

What are people using for their river surfboards out there? I'm not talking about an ocean surfboard that can barely maintain a 1 minute surf on a small to medium sized wave. I'm not talking about a Badfish SK8 (boogie board) either.
Big, fast carves, cutbacks, sustained rides on a variety of waves with aggressive carving.

Who's doing it and on what dimensions board AND on mostly natural river features- not cement created flumes where the water is moving 30 mph.

Anyone?

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Old 09-12-2017   #2
 
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I think we had this discussion on TGR, but I'll chime in here as well.

It's tough to generalize because river waves are so different. Broadly speaking though, the taller and greener the wave, the closer an appropriate board will look to an ocean-surfing shortboard. The flatter and mushier the wave, the more volume you're going to need to surf it. If you think about it, most of the cutbacks and aggressive carving on an ocean wave happens during the short-lived, "critical" period of the wave breaking, just a second or fractions of a second before the wave breaks into whitewater. By and large, river waves don't have that critical moment, since the waves are static/continuously breaking. So it takes a rare set of circumstances to produce a steep green face on a river without a breaking wave. You tend to see it at a small number of natural features and in artificial whitewater parks like Bend or RRP.

The more garden-variety river waves tend to be more of a wave/hole, with some manner of a pile on them. For those, you usually need more volume, since the wave has less height and steepness to accelerate you to a planing speed, and you need the volume so you don't sink straight through the aerated pile and have your tail dragging you off the wave. On the smaller mushier waves, you're not going to be getting big ocean-style cutbacks regardless of what kind of a board you're riding, but you can get long rides that are limited only by your skill/stamina.

This bit of your question: "Who's doing it and on what dimensions board AND on mostly natural river features- not cement created flumes where the water is moving 30 mph." It's happening at Skook and at the Lochsa Pipeline and at Glenwood on big days, all on ocean boards or river boards that look a lot like ocean boards with a little more width. But the conditions necessary for a wave steep enough, green enough, and tall enough are so rare that they're most often found in the concrete flumes.

I've written more on river surfing designs here (all posts); here (boards specifically), and here (collecting a list of shapers specifically shaping river boards).
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Old 09-12-2017   #3
 
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Montrose, Colorado, Colorado
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Thanks for the feedback and yes, I also posted on TGR in hopes of generating some more interest and perhaps input from the guys at Badfish or some of the other small, start up board companies in Colorado that are looking at making boards for river surfing.

As I see it, there seem to be 3 groups of river board users out there: those who use sups for downriver travel, those who use sups for surfing with a paddle, and those who only want to surf on park and play waves or destination surf waves accessed via raft.

I strictly want to surf. My shoulders are too jacked to continue torquing them with a paddle and I'm too scared to go down river standing on a board of some kind-fearing I'll eat shit on shallow rocks when I fall...

So,,,I'd love to hear from Badfish-or any other Colorado company to see what direction they will be taking in the future of river surfboard design.

Also, any Colorado surfers using boards from other river-specific shapers?...
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Old 09-12-2017   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoods View Post
Thanks for the feedback and yes, I also posted on TGR in hopes of generating some more interest and perhaps input from the guys at Badfish or some of the other small, start up board companies in Colorado that are looking at making boards for river surfing.

So,,,I'd love to hear from Badfish-or any other Colorado company to see what direction they will be taking in the future of river surfboard design.

Also, any Colorado surfers using boards from other river-specific shapers?...
Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Confluence Watersports in NC acquire Badfish a few years ago? Maybe I'm thinking of another company...

-AH
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Old 09-12-2017   #5
 
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No, As of now, Badfish is an independent company. They had been tied to Boardworks, but that has recently changed. They're based out of Salida, CO.
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