Over the past decade or so, surfing has transitioned from the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific into the interior, deep in the mountains. How come? First thing, snowboarding is closely related to the lifestyle of surfing. Both cultures chase storms to find the best “wave”. So, it was only a matter of time before snowboarders would seek out places to get their summer “board” on, surfing the water instead of the mountains.
4 River Surfing Spots in US & Canada + 1 Amazing Lake to Slash
Check out this great video from Strongwater Mountain Surf Co – the ORIGINAL Mountain Surf Shop:
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
The Snake River may be where whitewater rafting was born but it’s also in a class of its own when it comes to river surfing spots. The “Lunch Counter” rapid is one of the few natural phenomena on the list making it a white buffalo of river surfing. Conditions must be just right! The perfect combination of snow-melt and release of water from the Jackson Lake Dam is needed to create this wonder. When nature aligns and nearly 8,000 – 12,000 cubic feet/second of water is flowing, an epic mountain surfing spot is born.
Trail, British Columbia
We have to give a nod to our Canadian brethren especially that this monster is another natural hit. Located deep in the heart of the Powder Highway not far from Red Mountain (Rossland, BC) is what they call the “Industrial Hole”. To catch this wave, you literally need the perfect storm. One part massive snow year and one part quick warm up will lead to the wave’s formation. With massive whirlpools and a long paddle out, this water-wonder is no joke.
In our past articles we’ve called Bend the Disneyland of Outdoor Recreation. And, this is yet another example of why you should visit if you love adventure. Open since 2015, with the support of a bond measure & the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, the Deschutes River, crossing through the center of town, created the Bend Whitewater Park. With something for everyone’s river adventure, the park includes three different channels: one for floating, one for whitewater, and one for natural “surf” habitat. So, the next time you’re in Bend, you might want to bring ALL your toys including your surfboard.
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Since 2008, the Glenwood Springs Whitewater Park has been home to the very popular “G-Wave”. The FIRST-ever manmade whitewater feature, it’s built across the ENTIRE length of the Colorado River. Within the park are two waves called “The Glove” and “The Right”. When the water levels are high, these transform like Voltron into one massive wave to slash. And the best part? After a long day surfing the mighty Colorado, you can head to the world famous Glenwood Hot Springs and soak those aches & pains away.
Lake Tahoe, California
Yup, Lake Tahoe has a group of diehard surfers. Compared to others on this list, this isn’t on a river but rather the lake. How? Well, surfing needs one major thing for “surf” to pop up… and that’s wind! Fortunately, the Sierra Nevada Mountains have a TON of wind. Being the first natural barrier, storms slam into the peaks creating winds of 60-80+ mph while generating waves up to 6 feet tall. And, with the lake being ice-free even in the coldest months, surfers can hit up the “waves” all year long.
If this article has piqued your interest about river surfing, we highly recommend checking out River Break magazine. Being the first and only river surfing magazine, it’s a great source of info. From having a map listing all the river surf spots around the world to in-depth articles, it’s the beating heart of this culture. Happy “Surfing”!