River Surfing in Montana
River Surfing



Riverboarding and River SurfingHere we go. TIme to surf. During guided trips, we sometimes run rapids straight through. Other times, if you're up for it, we surf as much as river levels and conditions permit. You'll get the opportunity to catch some waves and experience the mojo of river surfing down in the Alberton Gorge.

To surf --we look for a "standing wave" or breaking wave that is big and powerfull enough to allow us to ride or surf its upstream face. The great thing about the Gorge is that we always have a variety of waves to try at normal summer flows. Sometimes accessing a surfable wave requires that you stand at river's edge on a rock and launch yourself towards the upstream face of a wave to get enough momentum to catch the wave. Often you can just swim from an eddy out to the surf wave, but it just isn't quite as glorious of an entry. Part of the fun is the anticipation, the challenge and watching each other get worked. Remember, trying to surf is still surfing. Knowing all of this you perch on the rock and wonder if you will catch the wave.

3._GoNot all launches are created equal, but they all feel pretty great. Collect yourself, size up the wave, make sure you have a soft landing, look for any oncoming traffic, confirm downstream safety is ready, and, like a jungle cat, jump out over the river with your board beneath you. In other words --Launch!
Now you are airborne over a rapid in the middle of an ancient river canyon. ..suspended in time. For a moment you might wonder what the hell you're doing, but before you know it--you are in the river, and thoroughly consumed by the moment.

River Surfing MontanaYou hit the water, balanced with the board under you and kick hard until you catch the wave. With a little luck you are surfing, ..experiencing the universal rush of riding a wave. And that is an understatement, because if you are surfing for the first time--you might not realize it. Eventually it will dawn on you that you are facing upriver on the upstream face of a wave, with powerful flood rushing beneath you,...then you look over at your friends smiling on shore,...and then you think, " Am I surfing?...I'm surfing!...so this is surfing!" , and if you're in control and a little lucky you can relax and savor the surf. You will then likely experience what scholars refer to as the "stoke"...hence you are "stoked". ...Either that or you hit the river, catch an edge, get momentarily swallowed, pummelled, recieve a nasal enema of whitewater, get swept downstream and emerge smiling. Swim back to give it another try. The beauty of it is, that either way your surfing--because as all surfers know--surfing involves first and foremost--getting jacked enough to try.