Colorado is home to some fantastic water. Get on it!
The summer is here and the rivers and creeks across the state are roaring. Not to mention all those lakes and reservoirs just begging for someone to get out and paddle across them. But how to best access it all? That’s where the Elevation Outdoors Paddling Guide comes into play. We have assembled info from the best shops, outfitters, schools and guides who help you get out and have a blast on the water. So pore over these pages, book some dates, invest in some new gear and get out there and enjoy a season of paddling.
Altitude Is Your Connection for the Best SUP Products and Services
The enthusiastic staff at Altitude Paddleboards were on the breaking edge of the stand-up paddleboard wave. JB and Nancy Bridenbaugh spent decades kayaking in California and surfing in Hawaii before founding the SUP- focused surf shop in 2011. It’s not just one of the best places to purchase a SUP (or even a Onewheel), but also the best place to learn the craft. River classes are held on the S. Platte. Flat water classes—everything from intro cours- es to PaddleFit sessions and SUP Yoga—take place on a private lake near the shop with free parking! Open noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday- Sunday. Located at 2690 West Main in Littleton.
Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center
Located halfway between Buena Vista and Salida on the Arkansas River, RMOC is as easy to get to from Denver as it is Colorado Springs, meaning there’s no excuse not to hit the best whitewater river in the country. Living up to its “Choose Your Own Adventure” motto, RMOC offers a broad range of customizable trips to fit your every desire. Specializing in paddling instruction (and professional certifications), including kayaking and stand-up paddleboard- ing, it also offers guided rafting, inflatable kayak, mountain biking and rock climbing trips—all of which can be combined for a half-, full- or multi-day multi-sport adventure.
Your Connection for All Things Water
It’s been 27 years since Underwater Connection first opened its doors
to SCUBA divers in Colorado Springs. And a lot has happened recently that now makes them more pertinent than ever to all things watersports in Colorado. In 2014, local owners Troy Juth and John Hildabrant embarked on a bold adventure that would change the Colorado SCUBA industry: They built a state-of-the-art facility off Garden of the Gods and I-25 unlike any other in the country. With their impeccable instructional and retail staff, impressive 117,000-gallon onsite heated pool, modern classrooms anda large selection of equipment, the place is making waves in Colorado. The facility also enabled them to expand their services to include not only SCUBA lessons, but also incorporate kayak, SUP, swimming and more into the instructional regime. Now, more than ever, Underwater Connection is your true your go-to instructional outlet for all things water in Colorado.
Blowing Up inflatable SUP Technology
Design. Adventure. Better. Those three words sum up Steamboat Springs, Colora- do-based Hala Gear. The brand is taking the inflatable stand-up paddleboard world by storm with its bomber, time-tested products, all put through their rigorous paces on their back yard Yampa River and nearby high alpine lakes. Building versatile inflatable SUPs to perform in all conditions, Hala hangs its hat on building boards you can paddle anywhere, from whitewater to flat water. Its rigid, drop-stitch- construction boards also emphasize performance and durability, with an industry- leading three-year warranty. Rig it up, choose your fin set-up and take it anywhere to unleash your inner Laird Hamilton.
Hala currently offers 13 different models to choose from, including its best- selling Hala Hoss, Straight Up and Atcha. This year, it’s debuting the whitewater- oriented Hala Luya, for stomping everything from Class II to big lines, and its all-around Hala Atcha 86, for park-and-play, whitewater and general river touring. Also, look for the improvements to the family friendly Hala Hoss (yes, bring the dog, the kid and the cooler along), all-around Hala Straight Up and Hala Nass 14 for tour- ing. Other industry-leading innovations include the new, revolutionary StompboxTM, the market’s first-ever, spring-loaded fin system that retracts upon contact with obstacles and then springs back into fin mode; Removable Click Fins, a new box that lets you remove side fins and use any FCS-1-style fin you want; and the Travel Tough Rolling Backpack, making traveling with your SUP as easy as paddling it.
For propulsion, select from Hala’s long line of award-winning paddles, including the uber-popular, double-bladed Butterknife, which lets you use it as a sole blade when standing, and as a kayak paddle when seated. Sample all Hala’s products at demos throughout the state, or visit the office along the Yampa River by swinging through Hala’s hometown of Steamboat Springs.
PADDLE THE ROCKIES SERIES
SUP Racing, Rocky-Mountain-Style
SUPers rejoice! There’s a new SUP race series combining Colorado’s top stand-up paddleboard races into one series for an overall championship. The series showcases the state’s best paddleboard options—as well as its top venues, race courses, organizers and talent. It includes river and flatwater races in mountain towns and metro areas, offering competition, camaraderie, music, camping and more. The top five male and female racers earn points to be crowned Paddle the Rockies Series champions. Events: 6/5 Colorado River (Bond); 6/19 Arkansas River (Salida); 7/3 Grant Ranch, Littleton; 8/27 Gore Fest SUP Race (Bond); 9/18 Union Reservoir (Longmont).
Colorado’s Oldest Licensed River Outfitter
Established in 1969, Dvorak Expeditions is Colorado’s first licensed river outfitter. Family- owned and operated, it instills that pride in its trips, from whitewater rafting, paddleboard, inflatable kayak and fly-fishing trips to music trips to paddling and river rescue instruction and multi-sport packages—plus everything from climbing to horseback riding. Based in the Arkansas River Valley across from Browns Canyon National Monument, its professionally trained staff run trips on eight rivers with half- to eight-day offerings for groups or individuals. Want a treat? Try the six-day Bluegrass Journey and eight-day Classical Music trips on the Green River-Desolation and Gray canyons.
4 CORNERS RIVER SPORTS
Colorado’s Largest Paddlesports Store
Located on the banks of the Animas River in the southwestern Colorado town of Durango, 4Corners River Sports has been helping folks enjoy their local waterways for more than 33 years. One of the oldest paddling stores and instructional centers in the state, it offers a full- service paddlesports retail store, paddle school and rental center. It also offers outfitted river trips through an affiliate guided whitewater rafting company. It strives to provide the highest quality of service, information and education for all types of paddlesports, whether it’s Class V whitewater kayaking, flatwater SUP touring, desert raft floats, kayak or canoe fishing and everything in-between.