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Water, Water, Everywhere! 

For a desert, there sure are a lot of water sports around here!

Last Saturday, Reese Collins, a 19-year old student from COCC, reached the end of his first pass at the annual wakeboarding competition on Lake Billy Chinook. The conditions were ideal—barely any wind stirring up waves; "glass," in waterskier and wakeboarder-speak. Collins had already landed a "tantrum"—essentially a back roll—and the boat swung back for his return trip, and Collins' final chance to score more points.

He quickly banged out another tantrum, and then went to land a more complicated and difficult front roll that, unlike a somersault on dry land, requires a much higher degree of difficulty than the backroll. But Collins did it, with a smooth landing—and secured his victory.

With rain fall limited enough that unwatered lawns turn to dust and the natural landscape's hard rock and packed dirt, Central Oregon is a high desert; yet it is also a playground to every water sport under the sun—from the waterski and wakeboard scene at Lake Billy Chinook, to a freeway of paddleboarders and tube-floaters on the Deschutes River. In this issue, we present a map to help steer you towards your water sport. Sailing? Elk Lake is a sure-bet for a four-hour tour. Kayaking? Forget about it! There are casual paddles on Paulina Lake, or Class IV rapids south of Bend; not to mention an incoming whitewater park adjacent to downtown. Rafting, fishing, canoeing; all within a 30-minute drive.

Want to get started? On Wednesday afternoons, Sundance Water Sports host informal waterski and wakeboard lessons, or join online at for an annual membership ($25). And, on the final Wednesday evening of each summer month (July 29), Tumalo Creek and Kayak hosts Pickin' & Paddlin', with free SUP, canoe, and kayak demos, 4–7 pm.

Want more? Check out our illustrated guide to the area's waterways below. What's your favorite spot/activity? (Read more about flyboarding here.) Join in the conversation by using #BendBoats on Twitter.

  • Illustration by Luke Allee


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