Getting “Rad” with one of my Favorite People

This is Jaymo.

19466651_10155803065678912_6859261881407632337_oJaymo is one of my favorite people AND the first person I can recollect using the term “frisky ripples” with about 7 years ago.  I probably remember it, because he loved the phrase and raved about it in a wonderfully positive, “quintessential Jaymo” kind of way.  Just like how he uses the term “getting rad”.  Which I’m pretty sure can refer to anything from surfing a double-overhead wave to his youngest son sliding into home base (unnecessarily…but just because).

I met Jaymo about 7 years ago, walking the street in tiny Punta Mita Mexico where he was visiting a mutual friend…actually a friend of his, and a business connection of mine who was waylaid in Guadalajara. Because of the lag in schedules Jaymo, another friend and myself spent time paddle surfing, hanging out and laughing a ton. It began a great friendship and a unique C-change in my life (Jaymo is, in fact, the guy responsible for setting me up with Sam, my special squeeze).

The reality is Jaymo and I don’t spend a lot of time together.  He’s a loving husband and father of three awesome “kids” (one is almost graduated and damn near a legal adult). He’s beyond busy being that awesome family guy while also working a ton. So why do I write this post about him? Well Jaymo is, in fact…or at least in my opinion, based on observation and random rumors, a true “next level” athlete.  From biking to snowboarding to surfing, the guy really can crush it. His resume is long and impressive…personally and professionally.  His circle includes athletes and people from expert, to famous, to legendary status. But here’s the thing…Jaymo’s “getting rad” is very similiar to my “frisky ripples”.  He’s certainly comfortable in the “next level” arena.  But that doesn’t stop him from hanging out with me on waist-high waves. Or class II rapids. In fact, he thinks it’s awesome. He’s a super supportive guy that cares about people and helping them reach THEIR potential (whatever that looks like).

In Bend, and in the industry I work, there are a lot of amazing athletes doing a lot of amazing things.  We see it on social media and all the numerous film festivals and, for that matter, in person with our own eyes–on the trails, on the river and play park, etc. That is AWESOME! At times, however, I think us average athletes can lose perspective on why we engage in the activities we do…and that’s to have fun. (that’s why I do it anyway). Maybe to push or challenge ourselves.  Maybe to improve ourselves.  Or probably a combination of all of that.  My hope is that I never let the fear or feeling that I don’t add up get in the way of me trying something new.  I hope that’s the case with you people, in general.

As a side note, thankfully in Bend there are a lot of ways to find access to trying new outdoor stuff. Certainly there are more options out there, but for biking, you might check out Pine Mountain Sports for their “Dirt Divas” (for you ladies) and bike clinics.  A couple of my best buds swear by them!  We have some great classes/programs at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe locally…and I’d be remiss not to mention the awesome programs west of the Cascades for paddling..kayak or SUP…with eNRG Kayaking.  And for more variety, Outside IN, a local retail shop in Bend that also offers fabulous events/workshops and clinics in a really accessible manner. I should mention I’m getting no credit for the shout outs here….the entities don’t even know what I’m writing.

Once again…happy paddlin’ and thanks for listening!!  See ya out there on the frisky ripples!!





Frisky Ripples with Friends…

It’s again been a long time since I’ve written.  This time, not because I don’t have any material, but because I’m so busy with the season kicking in that with time off I’d like to get ON the friskies rather than writing about them. So there lies the conundrum.  However, I had so much fun today that I just couldn’t help myself.

If you remember the premise of my blog, it’s based on the fact that I love to do activities which, in some circles might be considered “risky”  (eg surfing, mountain biking, skiing, whitewater paddleboarding, etc) but I like to do these activities in an accessible, moderate way.  With whitewater paddleboarding it’s been rare that I paddle without my boyfriend Sam.  Lately however, I’ve been hugely inspired and challenged to paddle without him…with women!  And it’s been amazing.  Not that Sam isn’t still my fav to paddle with. He’s awesome, encouraging and we have a standing rule that we make out on the flat-water stretches and since he’s hot, that’s a big plus…haha.

But here’s the deal…a little about Sam. He’s a champion whitewater kayaker.  Literally.  He teaches the teachers/instructors, rescuers how to teach swiftwater rescue.  He’s been doing this for decades.  Therefore, when we go out on the water I have a sense of security (whether I should or not).  A comfort level that allows me, in some ways, to trust and follow.  It’s a fabulous way to learn how to read rivers and learn the necessary skills of paddling and I’m hugely grateful to him and can’t wait to hit the Grande Ronde together next week (and so many more rivers after).  But have you tried lately to find an address without using the GPS on your phone?  Guess what?!  You have to THINK.  You have to pay attention.  It’s on YOU to figure your shit out.  Not only have I been paddling new rivers I’ve never paddled but I’ve been doing it with women who have also never paddled these stretches and many with less experience on a board than me.  It’s fun and challenging and scary and wonderful.  It’s scary in a way that makes me pay more attention, use my paddle skills and force myself out of my comfort zone.  Sometimes it means portaging something because that’s the reasonable thing to do.  There’s challenge in that too!

By the way, can I rave about the ladies I’ve paddled with recently?  They’re amazing.  Christie, Megan and Erica. All exceptional humans that I consider fortunate to call friends.  It’s a different experience with these girls.  We laugh.  We stop and take time if we need to.  There’s “girl talk”.  Yup, guys we DO talk about you.  And Brad Pitt.  We talk about him too.  It’s just a whole bunch of awesome.

I feel like I’m gushing…and I am.  Because here’s the deal.  I’m lucky enough to be able to experience one of my favorite things in the world with great women AND the awesomest boyfriend ever.  I am full of gratitude.

A bit of beta about the river we ran today–the Metolius.  Riverside campground to Lower Canyon Creek.  Class I/II.  We did two portages: one around a river-wide log and the other, to be extra cautious in the canyon.  Could we have run it?  Yup. Did we need to portage based on our boards and level of experience within the group?  Well, we decided to, and we were happy with our decision but agreed next time we’ll run it.  So remember this, all you people out there (I use the word “all” pretty liberally here, as if I have tons of readers…haha…) You can choose to engage in whitewater paddleboarding (or whatever your activity might be).  There is no shame in being moderate, cautious or fearful.  Do what makes you feel great.  Do what gets you off the couch (save that for when you get home from your adventure!)

Thanks for listening…and happy paddlin!



It’s about that time when my life shifts from lots of  time off for adventure, to very little time to do anything but work.  That’s great too, but on this lazy Sunday morning with my one day off this week I think fondly of a vacation that was actually only two months ago.  Sam and I had originally planned an epic loop both east and south, as far as Montana, potentially down to Arizona and back up through California.  All in two weeks.  After some thought (and a stunning Facebook post by a friend in the redwoods in northern California–thanks Dustin!!) we modified our trip to something awesome and more manageable.  South through Gold Hill/Ashland area to Jedidiah Smith park and up the 101.  This road trip didn’t disappoint!!

First night was spent in Gold Hill with friend’s of Sam’s, Olympian Steven Keisler and his wife.  They’re a great couple and we enjoyed a lovely evening of chit chat over a late dinner (bear in mind that I typically go to bed about 9pm, so anything past 7pm is late! haha).  A high point of the night, for me, was the recount of Steven’s continued efforts to bring the Los Angeles Olympic whitewater kayaking to Gold Hill.  A lofty goal, but I’m excited to see how that plays out.  You just never know.

Had a first paddle the next day, on an urban section of the Rogue.  Not the wild and scenic we’d originally considered, but based on our goal to maximize time in the redwoods, this was a nice option.  Great to get on the water and the weather was amazing!  Who would think it’d be mid-60’s in January!

We ventured on to Ashland after our paddle where we lodged on Mt Ashland to wake at 3am and find our way up the mountain for the best view of the lunar eclipse.  A less publicized deal than the solar eclipse, but it was still SUPER COOL.  We watched for an hour, and then were treated to an epic sunrise.  Lazy brunch and then a fun hike that reminded us that contrary to the nice weather and unseasonably high temps that it was winter.  We hiked into snow, but was rewarded with beautiful views and great cardio workout.  From hiking to dining, I met Sam’s friend Oliver Fix who owns a tapas restaurant in the heart of Ashland.  I was really impressed with this guy.  Olympic whitewater kayak gold medalist and the most humble man ever. Interesting to listen and learn, when someone like Oliver is present. PS, the name of his restaurant is “Ostras”. Spanish tapas and craft cocktails…check it out!!

The grass doesn’t grow under our feet for long so we made our way toward Crescent City where we did a dusk hike through Stout Grove (boasted to be the largest grove of redwoods in Jedidah Smith park).  I was blown away.  Trees that big just don’t exist anywhere else I’ve seen. The only thing as cool as hiking through them, is paddleboarding down a creek through them.  Which we did the following day.  It was unbelievable.  Frisky ripples to be sure, but this trip wasn’t about the paddling as much as taking in the views which are other-world.  We spent a few days in Jedidah, hiking and paddling…nothing noteworthy to readers but incredible for us. Hard to believe such beauty is basically in our backyard.  One exception would be meeting “Barefoot Bob”, a local legend that happily shuttles for paddlers far and near.  He’s quite a character and if you ever find yourself on the Smith and need a shuttle, call Barefoot.  Easy, cheap and quite a pleasant experience…(yes I’m talking about shuttles….hahaha).

The last few days of our trip were spent traveling up the 101.  We caught some waves on the coast…again the weather cooperating beyond what we could have hoped… hiked a bunch, mountain biked on a fairly new trail system between Bandon and Coos Bay, and simply enjoyed the leisure of vacation.  That’s the great thing about the schedule of people in our industry.  It allows for this kind of time, except when it doesn’t, and then it’s GAME ON!  Luckily we had one more trip planned before the season.  Alas, that’s another story.  Thanks for listening and happy paddlin…

Ashland hike
We forgot it was winter still…up toward Pilot Rock
Lunar Eclipse
I can’t take credit for this amazing image…credit to Sam Drevo.
Big tree
HUGE tree.
Cool tree
This could have been my favorite moment on a hike toward Boy Scout tree
Mill Creek paddle
Photography was tough in this grove because the trees are too big to fit in the shot!!
Crescent City Sunset
It’s not all river paddling

Back on the Paddle Again…

Needless to say, it’s been a long time since I’ve written.  I’m mostly healed from my MCL tear so I’ve got content to write about, but there lies the rub…when I’m forced to stay off my board (or trails, or dance floor, or yoga mat, etc) I have nothing to write about relative to the blog.  So I’m doing my best to sneak a post in here and there, while excited to be active again and too busy being active to write about it.

My first experience back on whitewater, post injury, was on the first day of 2018. A great start to a new year!  It wasn’t, however, on my paddleboard.  My first whitewater adventure was with the American Whitewater Association New Years day paddle, an annual event, on the Clackamas.  My guy Sam and I R-3’d it on a raft, with his young photography and paddle apprentice Colby.  To be legit, I’d like to say we R-4’d the run with Mojo (the coolest dog in the world) with us.  Mojo and I were both excited to start the new year right… finally getting back on the water.  The day was gorgeous…coldish but clear and it was large, fun group of paddlers.  The river was running at a perfect level and fun was had by all.  Now, as of March 2, way beyond my ability to remember details about the paddling I have to admit that a highlight was the homemade oreos that one of the paddlers contributed to the potluck after! Ha (my TRUEST passion in life reveals itself…food!!).

The New Years day paddle was great, however I was excited to get back on my paddleboard on whitewater which I did the next weekend with a wildly unseasonable Saturday on the Santiam river.  It was a sweet reunion.  Since I was mildly nervous about what my knee could do I wanted to start small.  I chose the first stretch that Sam and I ran together–our first date.  A fitting stretch and fairly romantic, in my mind, since he has been my whitewater paddle buddy, for the most part, since I started running frisky ripples on my board.  We put in at Mehema and took out at Linda’s (as we did that first day).  The difference this time around, was that the river was running at 4 times the CFS.  I was surprised to find my legs uncontrollably shaking for about 3 or 4 minutes, through the first rapid.  After that, however, they firmed up.  I suppose it was a reaction from my muscles “what the hell is this?!”…hmmmm oh yeah, we’ve done this before.

Honestly, nothing particularly noteworthy about the run except it rejuvenated my confidence in my knee’s strength. The Santiam is always beautiful and fun. Also, 65 degree weather in January is pretty epic.  There have been several amazing paddles since…you might be saying “then why not share THOSE stories Sue…this one was mediocre…? However, I’ve got to get moving out to ski and yoga.  Gotta save something right?  For now, thanks for listening and happy paddlin’….Sue and the Moj

Another Past Adventure…Panama!

I’m still longing to get out on my board, but in the meantime I’m filling my mind with past SUP trips.  Panama was one of those memorable SUP Yoga retreat destinations for me, led in conjunction with the shop I work at, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe.  We went twice and had different but great adventures both times.  Hint, if you’re looking for a phenomenal experience off the beaten path, check out Panama.  Here are my suggestions:

First, spend a few days in Panama City.  The city is really cool–I believe around 11 million in population.  It has a modern financial district with skyscrapers and the whole 9 yards (or in this case…some number of meters? Ha!).  Do yourself a favor and check out the “old town” or Ciudad Viejo.  It’s got a European flare, due I’m sure, to Panama City’s fascinating history.  The area was under major renovation when I was last there and it was incredible to see extremely run down dwellings right next to beautiful, remodeled buildings.  The city comes alive at night and even if you’re not into dancing/clubbing, do yourself a favor and go anyway.  It’s 100% eye candy.  Everyone is dressed to the 9’s.  It’s incredibly fun.

Panama City

Another “must see” is the Panama Canal.  But don’t be lazy and do your research before you go.  Learn what an incredible feat this canal was to build.  Pretty amazing.

After you’ve had enough of city life, you could do what our crew did and head the 5-7 hours to Santa Catalina. It’s a small but growing surf town.  Really cool and really friendly waves to surf at Playa Estero.  If you don’t want to venture farther out you can let the waves catch you just off shore, and at least experience the feel of surfing.  Views are stunning and the people are great.

Tumalo partnered with a couple of businesses in Santa Catalina to make this trip happen– beautiful Michelle (inside and out) who owns La Buena Vida, a wonderful small hotel with individual cabanas and an outstanding restaurant boasting local, organic foods.  Michelle and her husband are artists, so not only is the stay comfortable and well-located but also adorable and unique.  While there you can experience yoga on the hillside in the jungle…one of the coolest outdoor yoga studios I’ve ever seen. You can also get a massage.  For a rural experience, you’re really getting luxury!

The other partner was Fluid Adventures run by long-time Santa Catalina resident from Canada, Michael McKenzie.  Our first year Michael chartered us out to another must-see…Isla Coiba, considered the cousin to the Galapagos.  A beautiful island with indigenous animals we’d never seen or heard of, a resident crododile, immense jungle and outstanding hikes.  The sea-kayaking was mind blowing with crystal clear waters–visions that looked like they came straight out of a wall calendar.  I assure you, this wasn’t photoshopped.

The second year I took my SUP clients to various locations off Santa Catalina.  Michael made my life easy and essentially followed us wherever we wanted to go with a boat, as support. We paddled out to Santa Catalina island (unsupported), El Banco and El Gobienero.  Each a different experience but equally gorgeous. For example, from El Banco we paddled up a tributary through Amazon-like canopy, more than likely with crocodiles swimming around us, but I didn’t see any that day. No, the trips didn’t disappoint (aside from losing my camera during one of the excursions and the corresponding photos…sad face….I lost the camera, not Michael).

On a personal side note, one of the most enjoyable aspects of leading retreats is being a part of the clients’ experience.  I’ve observed transformations in days, before my eyes.  The second year in Panama was one-such situation and to this day I still remember warmly, a client (I’ll call her “Betsy”) who unwound from her highly uptight and anxious approach to…well…life. She looked physically different from the time she arrived. She left glowing, with a twinkle in her eye.

Many many great memories, too numerous to share and some falling under the category of “what happens in Panama stays in Panama”.  However, if you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact me directly.  I’m always up for a Panama chat.  Also, it’s not a place I’d recommend just “going for it” without a guide or extensive knowledge of the area.  It’s equatorial jungle and there are plants and animals that can (and will) kill you if you are unaware.  Shouldn’t scare you away from the experience, just saying know before you go.  Or during.  There are local guides that can be chartered to help.

Thanks for listening!

SUP Party
SUP Party
Panama 2
Cold beer after “hard” day of paddling!
Breathtaking mangrove paddle
El Banco
El Banco beauty
Panama 2013 081
Sunset on Coiba
Panama 2013 109
Tropical bliss…day paddle off of Coiba
Panama 2013 017
Playa Estero Sunset
Panama 2013 002
This is the life!!
Panama 2013 077
Panama Dinner
Enjoying really outstanding Panamanian food…nothing like Mexican food (also good)…just different.




A Look Back at the San Juans

San Juans SunsetI’ve almost completely recovered from my knee injury this summer…haven’t actually gotten on whitewater or surf with my paddleboard, but ready to get back after it! In the meantime, having just spent a few days in the San Juans it gave me an opportunity to reminisce about past visits to this beautiful area.  The trip I particularly cherish was a commercial trip I supported with TCKC a few years back.  It was a great crew…two awesome guides and Julia,  support staff.  Finally, myself to help the clients who might need anything from an apple at the very bottom of our kitchen gear after just cleaning up, to paddle tips and guidance on the water.

The TCKC staff headed out very early the day before the trip to drive the substantial distance (about 9 hours) to Anacortes where we’d camp, greet clients and ready ourselves for an even earlier next day (loading the first ferry).  Sidenote: I think the “behind the scenes” with guide staff is really fun.  It’s a special dynamic of teammates making it happen together.  Sharing the “stoke” and also the “ugggh”.  One thing is for sure–the worst day on a guided trip is better than any day in the office. Our team got along particularly well, and we enjoyed our pre-trip dinner with a handful of the guests.

Official day #1…early rise and successful load onto the ferry.  Gorgeous weather and chit chatting throughout the 90 minute or so ride.  Then onto our launch site where we promptly and efficiently…like a herd of turtles…re-packed gear, redistributing and sharing the clients’ load.  Then, onto Patos!  With 2-foot chop and several clients who were fairly anxious about the conditions, it was a little rowdy and we had to stay on our toes.  Eventually we all made it over to Patos a spectacular location.  What a great little uninhabited island, with the exception of a lighthouse on the far end, and a shitter about 1/4 mile from the grassy camp area.  Perfect!!  There were campfires, there was whiskey.  There was plenty of great food and laughter (see “whiskey”).

The next day was an optional paddle to Sucia to restock water, or a crew of us that stayed back while I led a yoga/stretch session overlooking the ocean.  With the free time after, I was more than happy to go for a run around the island trail (twice).  Checked out the lighthouse (cool!) and then back to camp to prep for dinner.  Night two, a trip highlight with a late night paddle…sans clients.  Nothing but the stars and some bioluminescence to light our way.  Little did we know that when we reached the tip of little Patito island, we also lost our protected bay and met 4 foot (at least) standing waves. Considerable waves.  But we were up to the challenge and had a hoot hollerin’ time.  Literally.  We hooted and hollered and I remember, like it was yesterday, as we “rafted up” in our kayaks, giving hugs and yelling “Isn’t life GRAND?!” just as Bo (one of the guides) looked down and asked “Sue, where is your paddle?”.  An offering to the ocean gods and maybe a lucky Canadian as the current was definitely heading that direction.

Life IS grand.  The rest of the trip was good too.  The ocean turned to glass the following morning and the typical fun paddling, campfires, paddle back and unpacking ensued.  That’s the great thing about trips like this–whether a river trip, multi-day sea-kayaking tour or ocean retreat–there’s just something about the water and positive energy that surrounds it.  Doesn’t have to involve waves or rapids (although I kinda like it when it DOES).  Leaving the cement jungle and reconnecting with mama earth and the water is a special luxury.  And if you haven’t done anything like this before, I recommend you do.  There’s something to fit every level of experience.  Give me a shout if you want some tips.

As always, thanks for listening….

Sue San Juans SuciaHank teaching some skillzHank teaching some skillz twoHank teaching some skillz threeSan Juans Sucia Sunset


I didn’t move off the grid or break all my fingers…

If you’ve read my posts before you know I’ve been meaning to start this blog for awhile, but didn’t actually do it until I tore my MCL and was forced to slow down.  I was really, really good at keeping up with my writing at first. As I’ve improved, however, I’m kind of a lagger. On this blog anyway.

It’s been a really fun last month actually.  I’ve been full of gratitude for what I CAN do (rather than focusing on what I can’t do, as I did before). Checking off the list, I got back on my bike, starting really slow…all pavement first, graduating to gravel-maintained trails and as of yesterday did my first “legit” bike ride.  Felt great!

Hiking.  Probably most of you reading this are from Oregon (4 of the 7 anyway!) and you know how beautiful this area is.  I hiked some wonderful trails in Bend, Salem, Cascade Head on the coast and Paulina Lake.  Feels wonderful to be moving and strengthening my leg muscles as I go. I’ve also begun running again which has been more recent but feeling strong.

Yoga was a big step and so happy to do that again.  Not only for the phyical benefits (extremely crucial with all the misalignment and tension from the injury) but mentally and socially. Bend has such a wonderful and strong yoga community…really bummed to have been separated from that, even if just a few months.

Now, the final test will be back on my board, on whitewater.  Slated for this next week.  Ironically I’ll begin with the next stretch of the Santiam that my sweetie and I began together when we were first getting to know one another… from Mehama down where it gets more and more gentle.  I’d worked my way UP stream before (as I got better on my board…the river is rowdier upstream and chills out as it flows past Mill City falls).  A year and four months later I’ll start again, but I’m wildly optimistic that my knee will do great.  If nothing else, we’ll have a great time running a beautiful stretch of river that we’ve been meaning to do but were having more fun on more challenging stuff.  This seems a metaphor to life… full of ups and downs, starts and stops.  Just when you think you’re invincible something happens to blow you off course.  However, at those times when you’re flailing hard, something great happens to prop you back up.  So I’m going to get out there and start all over again.  Onward and upward folks….keep moving, keep trying!