Colorado River SUP Season Wrap Up

 In Downriver, Events, Surf

On Badfish’s home river, the Arkansas, August 15th is the day the water dies. Through a voluntary release program, the Arkansas maintains recreational flows through 8/15. We had a great season here locally and certainly we will continue to paddle through the rest of the year, but the 15th always feels like the end of one phase of the season and the beginning of another.

In this post I just wanted to share some of our photos from the summer season here in Colorado and a few quick notes about the highlights. We have video highlights of the season on our Vimeo Channel. Subscribe to stay up to date with our videos.


In late May-June Colorado hosts a number of high profile SUP River Races. CKS Paddlefest, the GoPro Mountain Games, FIBArk (the oldest whitewater event in the Nation hosted in our hometown Salida) and a new event in downtown Denver the Coors Light South Platte River Fest.

Badfish athletes participated in all of the events and we had some notable results. Badfish took half the podium spots at the GoPro Games in both Men’s and Women’s cross and downriver. Haley Mills won the downriver race with Brittany Parker in 2nd. Team rider Mike Tavares and whitewater paddling legend Dan Gavere provided all of us a dramatic mano-y-mano battle in every race they did together, regularly swapping wins in events. I even managed a few wins (any race where the aforementioned paddlers didn’t show up 😉

We learned a lot about our board designs during race season. Badfish athletes raced on the 12’6 MVP-X, the prototype 10’6 MVP, the 9′ MVP and MCIT. Our youngest team rider, 11 year old Miles even raced some cross races on the 7’6 MVP-S. River specific designs allowed our athletes to stay on their feet paddling when paddlers on traditional boards were swimming.

Team Riders Brittany and Haley battling in the SUP Cross at FIBArk -photo by Heather Jackson

Mike T coming through a gate with Dan Gavere and CMac at FIBArk on a prototype 10’6 MVP

Miles racing down Gore Creek at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, CO -photo by Heather Jackson



River Running

2012 was a historically bad day for run-off in Colorado so we had little chance to SUP on our favorite whitewater runs at good flow levels last year. What we did do was a lot of rock dodging! This year our home river, the Arkansas, returned to near average flows during run-off and we had some great days on the classic whitewater stretches of the Arkansas like Browns Canyon, Parkdale and the Fractions on the MVP’s and MCIT’s.

Mike Harvey punching Canyon Doors on the 9′ MVP -photo by Morgan Mason

Brittany Parker on her home training grounds, Shoshone on the Colorado River. -photo by Jessica Marsan

Mike T paddling the 9′ MVP through Zoom Flume in Browns Canyon. -photo by Morgan Mason

River Surfing

When the water is up on the Arkansas River our local whitewater park in Salida turns into Badfish’s Advanced River Surfing Laboratory. Our brand was born from a desire to surf river waves and when our local spots, The Office Wave and The Scout Wave, are in the 6’11 River Surfers stay finned up and we don’t range far from home. This year we surfed together almost daily when we were in town and Mike T and Zack Hughes continued to progress river SUP surfing. Mike T and Zack started sticking pop shuv-its in addition to linked spins and legit ollies. Here is a quick video of some of our local surf sessions. In addition we put together a couple of instructional videos (basic and advanced river surfing) to help you get started and progressing with river surfing.

Mike T surfing the Scout Wave in the Salida Whitewater Park.

Mike T in mid pop shuv-it on the Scout Wave.

Mike T Pop Shuv-It

Mike Harvey longboarding at the Scout Wave on the 9′ MVP. -photo by Zack Hughes

Grom ripper Miles surfing his custom River Surfer at the Scout Wave. -photo by Taylor Robertson


Brittany surfing the Glenwood Wave. -photo by Jessica Marsan

Now that the whitewater season is winding down for us locally, we are focused on new adventures. We’ll be fishing on our Badfisher’s this fall and exploring flatwater on the MVP-X. While Badfish was born of a love of moving water…we have a passion for paddling. See you on the water and thanks for all the support in 2013. -Mike Harvey, Salida, CO








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