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SUP Lessons

The Event Site Center is opening for the 2015 season Friday, May 1st (Friday-Sunday plus holidays until mid-June).


SUP Lessons available when the Event Site Center is operating.

Big Winds has the largest lesson and rental center in the Gorge. We have everything you need to get started with standup paddling and can help you improve your current skills as well. The staff at Big Winds has been paddling for since 2007 and knows the ins and outs of this new, developing sport.

Before June 13th: Two lesson times each day: 12:30pm and 2:30pm

June 13th on: Four Lesson times each day: 10:30am, 12:00pm, 1:30pm and 3:00pm

Step One: Intro to SUP

1 hour lesson, 30 minutes of practice, $49

Learn the basics and be up and paddling in no time. Suitable for the whole family.

Prerequisites: swimming ability; Minimum age: 12 years.

  • Site and weather orientation
  • Introduction to equipment
  • Safety
  • Proper paddle usage
  • Getting started: launching
  • Knee paddling
  • Stand up paddling
  • Board maneuvers
  • Deep water restart

Step Two: SUP Express

1 hour lesson, 30 minutes of practice, $69

Once you have mastered the basics it is time to ramp up your skill level to enjoy a broader range of conditions. Learn why SUP is a great way to work on full body strength training and cardio fitness. You'll be able to enjoy any water environment.

Prerequisite: Intro to SUP or equivalent SUP experience, swimming ability.

  • Skills for fitness paddling
  • Various paddle stroke techniques
  • Advanced board turning and control
  • Intro to swell riding
  • Distance paddling

Step Three: Private SUP Lessons

1 hour lesson, 30 minutes of practice, $99

Whether you are just starting out or are an experienced paddler working on your race technique, downwinders or swell riding, our expert instructors can tailor a lesson to fit your needs. What you learn is up to you; the possiblities are endless! Individualized instruction will elevate your standup paddle boarding to the next level.

Downwind Prep Class

1 hour lesson, 30 minutes of practice, gear included, $69

For those who want to do a downwinder but aren't quite ready for one, this is the class for you. This is not an advanced class, it is an introduction to paddling in windy conditions. You should already have a good strong paddle stroke on flat water. This is NOT FOR BEGINNER paddlers. Our Downwind Prep Class will take your through everything you need to know before you venture out on the river in rough water and high wind. The class will provide detailed instruction on:

  • Rough water techniques
  • Recognizing and catching swell
  • Cross wind paddling
  • Up-wind paddling

We will paddle west towards Wells Island and finish with a downwinder to the Event Site.

Please call for lesson times and reservations. Again, this class is not for first time paddlers.

Downwind SUP Clinics

The Big Winds Downwind SUP Clinics are designed to prepare and guide you through this exhilarating and challenging experience. We all meet at 11 AM at the Big Winds Event Site Center. After warming up and learning downwind-specific paddling techniques and safety, we load into the Big Winds shuttle van and head to Viento State park for an eight mile downwind run back to the Event Site. The five hour clinic costs $125 and includes the shuttle run and five hours of coaching. Performance gear rentals (downwind board, paddle and lifejacket) are $50 for the clinic.

This clinic is designed for intermediate paddlers and above. You should have some experience paddling in rough, choppy water and in wind, be fit and capable of paddling for 2-3 hours. (If you aren't quite ready for this, sign up for our Downwind Prep Class.) You should have a pointed nose Touring or Downwind board. Surfboard style SUPs are very difficult to catch river swells with and won't be any fun.

In advance of this clinic, please read our Downwind Safety Guidelines.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call us at 888-509-4210.

These clinics fill up quickly.
Online signups are now available.


  • May 3rd
  • June 7th
  • August 2nd

SUP Yoga

Using the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge as a backdrop we will be practicing gentle vinyasa style yoga designed to support your mind, body and soul wherever your Gorge day may take you. More info here.

If you have questions or are ready to take the plunge, please call us at 888-509-4210 or email our Lessons and Rental Department at .

lessons lessons private lesson downwind prep downwind clinic SUP yoga