The surf is always up in Salida, CO! With the recent addition of the Scout Wave, river surfing is now a year-round pursuit. Even in the winter months, when the water is averaging 250 CFS, and air temps hover around freezing, you will find a small, dedicated group blissfully surfing on the Arkansas River. In dry-suits, of course. While that may seem like an extreme pursuit, in their defense, river surfing is really, really, fun!
If you are interested in River Surfing, Salida is a great place to start! The town boasts two permanent waves on the Arkansas River, a local community built around river sports, the world headquarters of BadFish SUP, and a team of passionate ACA certified surfers at Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center (RMOC) to give you everything you need to start river surfing!
In 2015 BadFish released the Inflatable River Surfer (IRS) which brought river surfing to the masses. The board is short and wide, built to slash, and offered at an approachable price. Since that time, BadFish has expanded their surfing line up to include solid boards, hybrid boards, and every other type of board you would need to shred the river. There is, however, more to a river surfing kit than just a ripping board. Unlike traditional surfing, flip-flops and board shorts aren’t going to cut it. As with most Rocky Mountain sports, the safety gear comes first! This includes helmet, PFD, footwear, optional paddle, and a break-away leash, which is where RMOC comes in.
RMOC offers a full rental kit included with a half-day’s lesson, and wetsuits are available too. Though, in my experience, the hands-on education by an ACA Badfish certified RMOC instructor is where the value lies. RMOC is known for quality instruction, engaging instructors, and epic days on the river! Surf lessons include a basic rundown of river swimming techniques, basics of hydrology as it applies to river surfing, the ability to read the wave, and of course a skill-set to set you up, not only to start carving up waves, but on a path of river surfing progression as well. If you are interested in river surfing, check out what RMOC offers on their website under Surf Colorado, you won’t be disappointed!
See you at the beach!