We decided to go on a little road trip. Starting in San Diego, Anthony and I headed up the Californian coast catching some surf, through Oregon exploring some fantastic rivers along the way, landing in Portland. There's so much i want to tell you...

Driving the West coast of Cali is what most people dream of at some point in their life. Winding around highway 1 and the 101, seeing the sites and feeling that heat of Californian sun. It was a trip to remember.

After meeting up with the Imagine Surf guys at their hub in San Clemente, to pick up some boards, we started the cruise North.

Over the Golden Gate Bridge, sticking to the coast most of the way, we took our time and enjoyed the ride. At Fort Bragg we had a few hours of surf at a beach all to ourselves.

The weather stayed bright and beautiful majority of the time yet when we reached Crescent City, it started to get a bit damp and chilly (you’d think us brits would be able to handle it but we soon pined the sun again) so we headed inland.

My map navigation isn’t the best but i managed to guide us to a cracking river just off highway five, The Umpqua, 1103 miles from our starting point.

After scouting the river from the road, it was launching time and Ant led the way.

We took Imagine’s Rapid Fire and gave it a proper seeing to. You couldn’t find a better white water board.

The Umpqua is a lovely river for an intermediate level paddler. Mainly grades two and three, with a few challenging parts. We caught it at a great water level, lots of volume and fluffy water with a few rocky spots to dodge. There was little time to wait before the next rapid came along yet just enough flat water to relax and enjoy the scenery. It felt incredible how the water was cold but the wind through the valley was like a giant hairdryer. We’d spent a good five hours on the water, i couldn’t believe it, i’d had such a great time and wasn’t completely knackered.

We stayed a few days, checking out other parts of the river and chilling out.

It was time to move on so we headed back to highway five and up.

Reaching Portland a couple days earlier than planned we hunted for more rivers. The locals advised us of some great spots around the area. About an hour away was The White Salmon. So off we went on another little adventure before our flight home.

And boy was that a good idea. The White Salmon is a much narrower river with large, spectacular gorge sections and crystal blue water. The water is snow melt but it was one of the hottest days we’d had so it was quite refreshing when taking a dunking.

The upper section was rather technical, mainly grades three and four. It had some syphons that needed to be avoided, few eddys and scouting was definitely necessary. Overall, it was a lot more challenging than some of the other rivers we paddled out there and totally bad-ass. After about an hour and a half of continuous adrenaline the river opened up into Husum falls, a 12 foot aerated drop. A sequence of wave trains lead into it, and a grade 3 rapid followed out heading into the lower section.

This section was more of a lovely relaxing float for the afternoon, mainly grades two with the odd three to spice it up a little. We came to a standing wave and had a play around for a while.
The river was quite popular, we met a few kayakers along the way, some locals who’d paddled it for years, some eager newbies enjoying the river like us. The trip really was beautiful. We couldn’t have picked a better day to run the river and it was a truly awesome way to end our journey. When the day was done, we set up camp, had a very meaty BBQ and went to bed ready for our flight the next day.

If we've inspired you to get into stand up paddle boarding give us a call and come for a paddle!