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    Badfish Blog — Category_Surf

    Chasing Waves and Family Balance with Claire Graff

    Chasing Waves and Family Balance with Claire Graff

    We get to show their tiny eyes and tiny growing brains what creating our happiness looks like."


    Here's an uplifting and honest portrayal of family/adventure life balance by team rider and mother of two Claire Graff. She shows us the beauty and challenges in holding onto the things we love throughout parenthood.

    Claire and Spencer won't stop fanning their adventure flame even after their second little boy is born. Determined to prioritize both their family and their passion for river surfing, they pack the RV with boards and diapers and go chase river waves. With a three year old and two month old in-tow, it's anything but easy, but what it brings to their lives is worth every ounce of extra work.

    *All shot on the fly with a small camera while trying not to drive my family crazy.


    Whitewater Parks for the River Surfer

    Whitewater Parks for the River Surfer

    Here's your list of whitewater parks across the U.S. that are known to be good for river surfing. If we've missed a park please feel free to let us know in the comments below and we'd be happy to add it. Keep in mind that just because these parks are man-made it does not necessarily mean they are safe. Always wear a lifejacket and helmet when recreating in the river.


    Glenwood Springs (Colorado River) Location: 2302 Midland Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO Webcam: https://www.coloradowebcam.net/webcam-locations/gws-kayak-park-webcam Details: Great for both shortboard and SUP. Is best at 10,000 CFS and up. It is a river wide feature with surfable waves on both the river right and river left side.

    Glenwood Wave


    Eagle (Eagle River Whitewater Park) Location: 200 Fairgrounds Rd, Eagle, CO 81631 Details: They've just finished phase II of this park and it will officially open Memorial day weekend of 2019. No details yet!

    Denver (North Platte River) Location: River Run Park 2101 W Oxford Ave, Sheridan, CO 80110 Gauge: South Platte Below Union Details: One adjustable feature best for shortboards and one static feature great for beginners and stand up paddle boards. New features are being put in as we speak!

    Pueblo (Arkansas River) Location: Latitude: 38.26684492803721 Longitude: -104.62262304680479 Gauge: Arkansas at Moffat Street gauge Details: Best flows at 600–800 cfs and above. Great for both SUP and shortboards.

    Pueblo Colorado Surf Wave

    Florence (Arkansas River) Location: 121 Co Rd 119, Florence, CO 81226 Gauge: Portland Colorado Details: 450+ CFS and great for high volume shortboards and SUP.

    Montrose (Uncompahgre River) Location: 210 Apollo Rd, Montrose, CO 81401 Details: Between the six features there is always something to surf, even at very low levels. There are many drainages for irrigation below the closest gauge so the reading on USGS is not usually correct. Visit this site for estimated flows provided by the city.

    Montrose Colorado River Surf Wave

    Gunnison (Gunnison River) Location: Corner of Hwy 50 and Co Rd 38 Gauge: Gunnison near Gunnison Details: 600 CFS is when you can start surfing it on a high volume SUP. But 1,000+ CFS is when it starts getting good...the higher the better.

    Golden (Clear Creek) Location: 1201 10th St, Golden, CO 80401 Gauge: Clear Creek at Golden Details: Best flows 500-1,000+. Surfable on high volume shortboards and SUPS.

    Buena Vista (Arkansas River) Location: 922 South Main Street Gauge: Arkansas River Below Granite gauge Details: Best surf feature is the Staircase wave. It's 1/4 mile downstream of the first feature Uptown wave located near the Community Center. Best flows are from 300-2,000CFS.

    Salida (Arkansas River) Location: River Side Park Gauge: Nathrop gauge Details: The best feature for surfing in this park is the Scout Wave which is the last feature in the park. 500+ cfs it will start to become surfable but starts to become fun at 1,000+.

    Salida River Park Surf Wave

    Durango (Animas River) Location: Santa Rita Park 149 S Camino Del Rio Gauge: Animas at Durango Details: Just about every feature in this park is surfable at different flows. 500 CFS and up something will be surfable, over 1,000 is when you'll start seeing more shortboards out there.

    Pagosa Springs (San Juan River) Location: 350 Pagosa St Details: There is not a lot of details out there on this park. We'd say, if you're passing through it's worth stopping and scoping it out.


    Boise (Boise River) Location: 607 N Whitewater Park Blvd Webcam & Gauge: https://www.boisewhitewaterpark.com/waveshaper-cam Details: This is an adjustable feature. They alternate between a kayak hole and a surf wave. Click here for the schedule.

    Cascade (Payette River) Location: Kelly's Whitewater Park Webcam: http://www.kellyswhitewaterpark.com/webcam.html Guage: North Fork of the Payette at Cascade Details: Best flows are 2,000+ but if you're not picky and have a high volume board there are always little ankle biters to surf.

    Cascade Idaho Surf Wave


    Reno (Truckee River) Location: Wingfield Park, 2 S Arlington Ave. Gauge: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/4137/ Details: At 300 CFS you'll get little ankle biter waves, great for beginners. From 2,000+ you'll get some waist high surf!

    Reno Nevada Surf Wave


    Bend (Deschutes River) Location: 166 SW Shevlin Hixon Dr Webcam: http://eyeonbend.wixsite.com/eobcams/copy-of-old-mill-2 Gauge: https://www.bendparksandrec.org/facility/bend-whitewater-park/ Details: This feature is an adjustable feature and is always catered to the river surfer. Flow range is from 200-1,000+.

    Bend Oregon Surf Wave


    San Marcos (San Marcos River) Location: Rio Vista Whitewater Park 555 Cheatham St Gauge: San Marcos Rv at San Marcos, TX (Flow range 100-400) Details: This is a park designed for lower flows, you will have the most success on higher volume boards.

    San Marcos Surf Wave


    Missoula (Clark Fork River) Location: Brennan's Wave Milwaukee Trail, Caras Park Gauge: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/5044/ Details: There's something to surf from 900+ CFS but the best is 6,000 and up!


    Columbus (Chattahoochee River) Location: 1000 Bay Ave Gauge: https://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River/detail/id/3659/ Details: Great for most boards from 9k-12,000+ CFS.


    Charles City (Cedar River) Location: 106 Chapel Ln Gauge: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/ia/nwis/uv?site_no=05457700 Details: 700-9000cfs+ this wave is best with high volume surf boards.

    Charles City Iowa Surf Wave


    Johnstown (Stonycreek River) Location: Green House Rd Details: Small waves but a great beginner spot for stand up paddling.

    Johnstown PA, River Surf Wave


    Dayton (Miami River) Location: Eastwood Park, RiverScape Park, BuckCreek Details: There are three parks throughout Dayton. Visit the links above for the details on each one. *Endlesswaves.net and Riverbreak are great resources for more detailed descriptions of waves around the world.

    Badfish's Intro to River Surfing Guide

    Badfish's Intro to River Surfing Guide

    Colorado and other states have been getting hammered with snow all season. Our home state is currently at an average snowpack of 143%! If you're reading this you probably know what that means....it's going to be one heck of a river surfing season! So, to help you get ready for it we've put together a little intro to river surfing guide. Like in the ocean there is a certain protocol to follow when surfing a river wave. But don't worry the river surfing culture is still, in our opinion, a bit more relaxed. This is simply to ensure you stay safe, don't put someone else at risk, and have a positive experience out in the water.

    We're going to break it down into four categories; safety, gear, wave assessment, and etiquette.

    Safety Gear

    1. No Ankle Leashes
    We've put this at the top of the list because it is the most important. Every recorded river surfing death was due to an ankle leash. The above image demonstrates precisely why ankle leashes are a hazard on the river. There are many alternatives to ankle leashes out there should you choose to use a leash...all of which will have a quick release mechanism on them. In lower/slower flow rivers no leash is usually best (easy to swim to and stay by your board). In high flows your board tends to be your life-line, quick-release leash is highly recommended. Check out our Re'Leash system which allows you to connect to any pfd or lifejacket.
    2. PFD or Lifejacket
    We know finding a PFD that is low-profile for shortboard river surfing can be tricky. Although it may take some time to get use to paddling on your stomach wearing a PFD you will get use to it. PFDs are important for obvious reasons you're not as buoyant in fresh water, it's must easier to rescue someone with a pfd, and if you're knocked unconscious you will still float. A life jacket could be the difference between life or death. Our team riders really like the Astral YTV as a low-profile river rated pfd.
    3. Helmet

    There are plenty of things to hit your head on at the river. Don't be the one that sets a no helmet trend.


    The Wave and What to Look for

    1. Observe

    From the bank, watch the other surfers. See how and where they enter the wave. Pay attention to what they do when they swim. Do they get right back on their board and paddle to shore or do they Michael Phelps it to shore while dragging their board behind them?

    2. Walk the Swim Out

    Walk the swim out along the riverbank. See where the surfers are getting out and whats past that point in case you miss the typical take-out. Are there any hazards below there and where’s the next safe spot to take out

    3. Getting into the Wave

    Pay attention to how the surfers are entering the wave. Are they jumping from the bank? Are they paddling up the eddy? Are they dropping in from above?


    River Surfing Etiquette

    1. The Line-up

    • Surfers will form a line along the bank, they may have different starting points, you could be getting into the wave on one side of the river and someone else could be getting in on the other side. Making eye contact and communicating with each other is key.
    • Take into consideration the kayakers. They are unable to wait in line on the bank like we can. Make sure you pay attention to who’s turn it is and communicate with the kayakers as to who is up next.

    2. Wave Time

    The beautiful thing about river surfing is the wave isn't going anywhere (in most cases), so if you wanted to you could surf it for hours. But, unless you're the only one at the wave there's a reasonable amount of time a surfer should stay on a wave. If you have a long line-up be conscience of your wave time. Two minutes is the maximum amount of time we would recommend surfing a wave...but one minute is ideal. Maybe you're wondering how you will know when you've been on the wave for too long. Two minutes may not sound like a long time but it sure feels like it when you're on the wave. You'll know when you've been surfing for too long; and if not, those waiting in line will let you know with whistles or by slapping their boards on the water. So don't overstay your welcome.


    3. Downstream Traffic

    Crafts traveling downstream ALWAYS have the right of way. You’ll notice approaching kayakers and stand up paddle boarders holding their paddles up in the air to confirm whether or not the path is clear despite having the right of way. This is because it is easy for them to eddy out and stop their craft until the channel is clear. They do this by holding their paddle vertically (good to go or all clear) or horizontally (not clear or stop). These same signals can be communicated to those upstream using your surfboard, paddle, or arms. See illustrations below…

    4. Throwing your Paddle

    Swimming with a paddle can be challenging. Some people turn to throwing their paddle into the eddy so they're able to aggressively swim into it. We discourage this act, especially if the line-up or eddy is crowded...nobody wants to get hit in the face with your paddle. Also, don't do this expecting other people to catch your paddle for you, even though they most likely will because lets face it river people are the nicest. Your gear is your own responsibility.




    1. Look out for Each Other

    On the river, we are a team, a collective. Always check to make sure your fellow surfer made it out of the river safely before hoping into the wave, especially if you're the only one in the line-up.

    2. Standing up in the River

    Standing up in the main current of the river can result in what is called a foot entrapment. A foot entrapment is when your feet become wedged between rocks and the unyielding current pushes you under water. If the water level is above your knees the possibility of this becoming a life threatening situation increases. Swim (keep your feet up) until you can touch the river bed with your hands while still keeping your head above water.

    3. Fall Flat

    River depth is constantly changing so it's important to always prepare for more shallow depths by falling flat. Falling flat will lessen your chances of hitting rocks and injuring yourself.

    4. Don't go Alone

    If this your first time to a wave don't go alone. There may be some hazards that aren't visible from the river bank. If there aren’t any other surfers there, wait until there is. Ask a local surfers if there are any hazards that you should be aware of, they will be happy to help.

    5. Educate

    Some people will show up not knowing anything about the river. And by no fault of their own, there isn't a lot of resources out there. If you see someone who isn't practicing river safety, kindly inform them. Some people will be so grateful you took the time to help them and others may not...but at least you tried.We hope you found this useful and informative. And if you have anything you'd like to add or feel like we missed please feel free to leave it in the comment section. Be friendly out there surfers, we're all in this for the same reasons, and everyone deserves to experience the joy of river surfing. - Brittany Parker