Standup paddleboarding (SUP) in Bend + Central Oregon


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Standup paddleboarding (SUP) in Bend + Central Oregon

We don’t like to brag, but Bend, Oregon has over 250 days of sunshine a year (we’re winking at you, Portland friends). One of the best ways to soak up all that sun? Gliding on water with the wind in your hair. Experiencing our Central Oregon landscapes from the water provides an entirely new perspective. Time seems to slow down here. It reminds us how much we’re intrinsically tied to nature. In the high desert, water is everything.

Around Central Oregon, we’re lucky to have several incredible spots to get out on the water and standup paddleboard. Whether you’re a paddlin’ pro or just getting your feet wet, Bend offers stunning views, refreshing waters, and the chance to spot wildlife like bald eagles, osprey, beavers, and otters. Central Oregon is a nature lover’s paradise (ok, maybe we’ll keep bragging… ). 

Grab your PFD, SPF, and SUP—and let your worries float away with the current.

Standup paddleboarding at Paulina Lake near Bend, OR

Finding the right standup paddleboard

There are two main types of standup paddleboards: inflatable paddleboards and hard paddleboards. They each have unique features. If you’re trying to decide which one is right for you, here are some key things to consider.

Inflatable SUPs are: Lighter, more portable, easier to store, less expensive, more durable

Hard SUPs are: Heavier, more agile, have more speed, and overall better performance in the water, are convenient load and go (no need to inflate/deflate with use), more expensive, ideal for long-distance expeditions and SUP surfing

If you aren’t sure which type of paddleboard is best for you, we recommend trying out a few different styles with a demo or rental in town. The experts at one of Bend’s paddle shops can guide you in the right direction.

Where to rent a standup paddleboard in Bend

Conveniently located on the banks of the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe rents standup paddleboards for 2-hour or 24-hour sessions. You can reserve a standup paddleboard online in advance or walk in for a same-day rental (first come, first served).     

Book an online 2.5-hour, 4-hour, or full-day SUP rental with Bend Kayak School. They’ll deliver your standup paddleboard to the Deschutes River in town or to your riverside vacation rental by appointment. You can also pick up your paddleboard at their loading station on NE Division Street. Don’t have a car rack? No problem! Bend Kayak School will send you off with an electric or hand pump so you can inflate your board once you arrive at the water.

Suncountry Tours offers daily 3-hour or all-day SUP rentals from late May to late September. Rather paddle the river with an expert guide? Book a guided trip and explore the scenic and peaceful stretch of the Deschutes River between Dillon and Benham Falls. Their SUP Tour includes transportation from their Bend Headquarters on SW 13th Street, a high-quality hard paddleboard, and expert guiding.

If you’re looking to purchase your very own paddleboard, local company Stand On Liquid designs a variety of inflatable and hard standup paddleboards right here in Bend. They offer several different lengths and widths for all-around paddling or longer and narrower paddleboards designed specifically for touring. You can also rent one of their SUPs starting at 2 hours all the way up to 72 hours. Scope out their full selection of standup paddleboards at their Bend showroom off Century Drive. 

Standup paddleboarding near Bend, OR

Beginner-friendly places to standup paddleboard in Central Oregon

Deschutes River

The Deschutes River Paddle Trail offers everything from expert Class V rapids to calm, glassy waters. The hardest part may be deciding where to launch. For a more mellow paddle (our pace), put in at Riverbend Park and paddle downstream through the historic Old Mill District just before the whitewater park. Make sure you save some strength to paddle upstream on the return. To escape the crowds, head to the Slough Day Use/Dillon Falls section of the Deschutes River for a serene paddle experience. For a longer paddle, venture upstream to Harper Bridge in Sunriver. This easy, 4-hour paddle meanders through Sunriver Resort and ends at the Sunriver Canoe Takeout (note: this paddle requires a car shuttle).

Mirror Pond is one of the crown jewels of Bend. Formed in 1910 from the construction of a dam on the Deschutes River, which provided Bend with its initial source of electricity, Mirror Pond is bordered by Drake Park—a lovely city park at the edge of downtown. It’s one of the best places to enjoy fall foliage in the heart of Bend. Put in at Brooks Park right off Newport Avenue and paddle upstream on Mirror Pond. You’ll pass by several parks including Drake, Pageant, Harmon, and Columbia. Turn around at Miller’s Landing Park (just downstream from the Bend Whitewater Park). Then, relish in an easy return paddle downstream.

With the Deschutes River flowing right through the heart of Bend, take advantage of the opportunity to check out all of the places to eat, drink, and shop once you step off the river—just bring an extra change of clothes!

SUPping at Hosmer Lake near Bend, OR

Cascade Lakes

There’s no shortage of stunning and easy-to-navigate lakes around Bend. Three of our favorites to paddleboard include Sparks Lake, Hosmer Lake, and Devils Lake. Dotted along the Cascade Lakes Highway, these Cascade Lakes are free of powerboats, offering quiet beauty, calm waters, and stunning photo ops. If you don’t mind sharing the water with the powerboats, Elk Lake and Cultus Lake offer amenities like restaurants, a marina, and lodging—convenient if you’re looking to grab a burger or stay the weekend in a cabin.

Discover more of our enchanting Cascade Lakes to enjoy by SUP, canoe, kayak, or with a shoreline hike. 

Paddleboard events in Bend

If you’re feeling adventurous, Bend hosts two annual paddling events that are all about dressing up and getting out on the water during the off-season.

The Bend Witches Paddle is an annual fundraiser benefiting MountainStar Family Relief Nursery that takes place on, you guessed it, Halloween. Every October 31, a few hundred witches take to the Deschutes River to paddle through the Old Mill, cacklin’ and brewing up potions along the way. Whether you decide to put your witches hat on and paddle or stake out a spot along the river to watch the spectacle, this family-friendly event is worth checking out.   

Holiday paddle on the Deschutes River in Bend, OR

For those brave enough to hop on their paddleboards, canoes, or kayaks in early December, Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe’s annual Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is a festive scene. Every year, Bend’s most dedicated paddling enthusiasts decorate their paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks with lights, trees, wreaths, ornaments, and garlands and paddle the Deschutes River through the Old Mill. Afterward, paddlers warm up with hot beverages and good cheer at Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe. The Holiday Lights Paddle Parade is definitely something to experience in Bend around the holidays.

Why standup paddleboard in Bend

Bend serves up some of the best access and scenery in the Pacific Northwest for standup paddleboarding. From alpine lakes to flowing rivers, you’ll find no shortage of accessible water that’s as easy or challenging as you want it to be. With warm weather, bluebird skies, ponderosa forests, and grand mountains encompassing you—hit the water and enjoy the simple pleasure of being one with nature. Now, that’s what’s SUP.