Bend is one of those towns that I instantly thought, "Yeah, I could live here."
This was my second time visiting Bend. Last year I didn't go near the new surf wave due to some horror stories I heard about the swim behind it. But they spent all of last Winter improving it, making it safer, and making the wave even bigger (from 20 feet wide to 40). I hadn't been in Bend more than an hour before I was wetsuited up with my new Badfish Sk8 under my arm.
It took me hours to figure out how to surf it. Floating in on my stomach and popping up proved to be unsuccessful. The only way I was going to surf it is if I learned how to acid drop. Seeing me struggle and probably wanting me to get a surf as much as I did, the locals offered me some tips...
"You need more of an angle." or "Try going into it with more speed."
All of which were welcomed and eventually I put them all together and glided across the green face for the first time. I had never felt anything like it! Despite my arms feeling like they were going to fall off; I couldn't stop.
But it's not just this beautiful wave that makes me think I could put my van on cinderblocks and change my address. It's the people. When I showed up they didn't make me feel like I was some imposter looking to take up their precious wave time. They looked to me with a smile and a head nod that implied "Welcome to Bend". There was an energy so stoke filled there was no feeling of intimidation just pure excitement and slight disbelief that this dream wave exists in their backyard.
I've seen surf communities with epic waves turn sour and bitter because their wave was getting to crowded. And I hope that never happens here. This is not the ocean, the wave is endless, it's there 365 days a year (give or take). I want people to be stoked that there are more and more people getting out and enjoying the river. A result of this growth more waves will be built. Why would anyone want to stifle this river wave revolution? My message to Bend is don't lose your soul, every day be grateful that just three years ago this didn't exist and now you get to surf in the F'ing mountains! I love you Bend "Dont go changin!"
(P.S. for insanely friendly service, atmosphere, delicious coffee, and ocean rolls visit our friends at The Palate Coffee Bar and tell them Brittany from RVR 2 RVR sent you ;)