In the summertime, surfers and kayakers at the Bend Whitewater Park sometimes must dodge the laid-back floaters and tubers who clog the Deschutes River on hot days. In winter, the tubers are nonexistent but a dedicated group of surfers remain, carving the human-controlled waves on even the chilliest of days.

Ryan Richard, a wave shaper for Bend Park & Recreation District and an avid river surfer, says a hardcore group of 50 to 100 surfers from Central Oregon, and a few kayakers, frequent the park during winter but usually only about 10 at a time at the most. Equipped with thick wet suits and the use of heated restrooms for changing at McKay Park, river surfers actually find their sport quite accessible and comfortable during the winter and early spring.

Directions: The Bend Whitewater Park is located near the Colorado Avenue Bridge in Bend, with access from McKay Park at 166 S.W. Shevlin Hixon Drive.

Reporter: 541-383-0318,

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