- Written by Shannon Thomas
When I planned to build out my newly purchased 2014 Dodge Ram Promaster, I had 2 things in mind. For Bailey and I to live comfortably and to fit as much of my paddling gear as possible plus my surf and SUP boards. After living and traveling in the van for almost 2 years I’ve learned and changed a lot. But those core principles remain intact. Here are some of the storage ideas that I’m applying to my everyday van life.
Making the bed higher increases storage underneath but does eliminate some living space. Below, I have 2 plastic totes with lids for storage. These contain my wetsuits, booties, gloves, leashes, PFD and other things I use regularly. On top of the totes I’m able to store both of my hard Badfish SK8’s, a 5.0 and a 5.0 high volume. Im able to then fit a few inflatables rolled up; such as my Badfish inflatable holeshot, rivershred, and Isk8. All of it fits directly under my bed. To the right, I have a smaller space for random gear. Such as a small tote of all my fins, my one wheel, sector9 longboard, a pump for inflatables, and other misc gear.
In the living space, I was able to fit an ocean surfboard on the side of the wall due to its low volume. My 6’4 river surfer in its bag is lashed to the ceiling and stays out of the way. I use this board often for river SUP surfing so wanted easy accessibility to it. In the colder months of the year, I keep an empty post surf tote to temporarily store my wet gear. I can also hang up inside the van with the tote catching all the dripping water.
The roof rack is an obvious must have when living on the road. My Dodge Ram
Promaster comes with easy bracket mounts with several rack systems to choose from. I was able to mount a Yakima Cargo Box to one side to store all my paddles, extra gear, dry bags, and longer bulky items I don’t use as often. On the other side, I can strap down any boards of any length. I make sure any board I strap to the roof is in a good board bag to protect from the elements. When setting up for “camp”, shade is important in the summer months so I use an ARB awning that extends over the side doors. It makes for a nice outdoor patio area. And lastly, of course, is a ladder to get to the roof. It also works great for hanging wet gear but just make sure you grab everything before driving off. Done that a few different times and now I always make sure to hang 1 piece of gear on drivers side mirror as a reminder!
Written by: Shannon Thomas After backpacking for 4 days in Havasupai, Arizona, we had a few days to kill before flying back out of Las Vegas. Fellow SUP paddler, Edie Call, and I had originally planned to drive the 17 hrs round trip to Lake Tahoe but after the late grueling hike and drive out, we got a motel in Kingman, AZ, to gather ourselves and discuss our options to make a plan for the next 3 days of what we wanted to do. I logged into some wifi, checked some maps and saw Lake Powell was only about a 4 hour drive. I came up with the idea to head there to see the infamous Horseshoe Bend and then do a little 2 day SUP expedition and camp from our boards since no camping permits are required for primitive camping there. The plan was to drive to Page, supply up with anything we needed, and then camp at the Lone Rock Beach Park at the Utah border since it was where we would launch from. We had most of our supplies, such as dehydrated meals and camping gear, but after some research we had to come up with our poop kit since being on rock and close to the water, you are not allowed to bury human waste like some areas. Our kit consisted up a water tight tupperware container and a few gallon ziplock bags. We made it to Lone Rock that evening after a few vista lookouts to take photos and look at the vast open space of Lake Powell. It was busy along the beach with tons of RVs and campers but several spots were available farther away from the water for tent camping and closer to the bathrooms. The next morning we broke down camp and packed up everything we were going to need for the next 2 days into drybags and made our way down to the water to pump up our inflatable SUPs we brought with us. I opted for my Badfish 11ft Holeshot and was able to strap everything I needed to the front of the board with the supplied D-rings. We strapped up our gear and made our way out with the plan to cross the lake and follow the shoreline and explore all the fingers North of Lone Rock, making mental notes of potential campsites, and jumping off cliffs as we saw them. We paddled into some narrow canyons and even came across some boaters who were happy to throw us a few beers after they saw our plan to camp from our boards. We explored every little finger, channel and anyone we could, had lunch on top of some rocks, and swam in the perfect temperature lake. We found a perfect flat campsite that we ended up paddling back to after exploring, only a mile from the take out with tons of rocks and cliffs to explore with beautiful views for the setting sun. After setting up camp and collecting driftwood for fire later on, we did our own things of hiking and shooting photos and taking in the solitude and vast open area and reflecting on the trip. Was really a perfect last day. The stars were plentiful, and our small campfire roared with the howling wind and kept us toasty warm with the nighttime dropping desert temps. It was a perfect end to our southwest dirt bagging trip before paddling back the next day, taking the rental car back to the vegas before catching our redeye flights. I easily could of spent weeks just paddling around Lake Powell, and over our 2 days there, we barely scratched the surface. A great destination for a paddle adventure.
UNDAM THE KLAM!!!
By Spencer Lacy
Photos by: Lance Ostrom and Spencer Lacy
The 4 lower dams on the Klamath River in Southern Oregon / Northern California are slated for complete removal by 2024 in the largest dam removal project in history, so naturally two buddies and I decided to paddle (and portage) the entire section that will become free flowing… all the way to the ocean. We plan to repeat the trip after the removals and get the full before and after picture from the river runner’s perspective. Get the full story from Spencer himself in a interview on the Badfish SUP Journal podcast
src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/2113/9367/files/1-cover-photo-1024x768.jpg" alt="" width="1024" height="768" /> -Written by: Hannah Ray J
I accomplished many things in 2020. Some things I would have never thought of if it wasn’t for our current and ongoing unprecedented times. What things were they may you wonder?
• I made a frog sculpture out of two old wheel barrows with my mother
• I made a homemade barbell and weight set with the help of my main squeeze Marty. We named it the Fred Flintstone Fitness Set.
• I celebrated the 2 year old birthday of my SCOBY.
• I learned a phonics monkey, McNasty, split wheel, and stern squirt.
• I grew way too many carrots in my garden
• I canned 50+ quarts of apple juice
• I learned my mother used to camp out in parking lots with her friend. (No wonder where I got it from?!)
• I started a whitewater mentorship in my community
• I learned what a Derecho is from first hand experience
• I pierced my fingers more times than I can count sewing a neck hug for my dog
• I dubbed a new to me sport called “hiking with fishing poles”
• Surfed under the Strawberry Moon
• Named a section of river “The section of tears” Ask for the story if you’re so inclined.
What does all of this have to do with river surfing? Well, some it very little, but it’s all about balance for me. The balance of working at my day job, juggling family commitments, eating whole foods, exercising, tending to living things, and pursuing my endless endeavor of whitewater kayaking and river surfing!
This year the majority of my river surfing was spent at my home wave, DD Wave, on the Cedar River in Charles City Iowa. Flows were awesome until July of this year. I was able to squeeze in many hours of river surfing while there was water. From snow and 30-degree water to hot, humid horsefly-biting, the hours in the river are always worth it to me. Lots of fellow kayaking peeps grabbed a board this year too!
Check out the highlights video and keep #surfIOWA on your hit list.
-Hannah Ray J