Only a River Surfer Understands … by Alex Mauer

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Alex Mauer owns the rivers in Colorado. He's a legendary waterman and a passionate river surfer
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River Sup athlete Alex Mauer has always been at the forefront of river paddling and riding the rapids on his BIC Sup.  In this article, Alex moves deeply into the connection that happens between paddler, board and wave when stand up paddling on the rivers in Colorado.  Read on, and be inspired.

Alex Mauer Bic Sup River surf
When Alex was 12, his dad gave him a boogie board and told him to go play in the river by his house. He’s been doing just that ever since.  Rock Island, Tennessee Photo by:  David Weihnacht

Surfing the River:  The difference between ocean swell and river waves

While talking with a surfboard shaper in a shop in Colorado recently, it became apparent that he hadn’t fully opened up to river surfing. I started to think about other surfers I have tried to share my passion for the rivers with. There is something about river surfing that ocean surfers just don’t open up to.  A river wave is different than an ocean wave.  It never breaks. You can ride it forever. We don’t judge river waves based on size in most cases. There is a different kind of connection between a sup surfer and a river wave.

“We watch the runoff like an ocean surfer would watch the swell” – Alex Mauer

We watch the runoff like an ocean surfer would watch the swell. Instead of swell reports we look at runoff graphs. Our waves usually come with the seasons instead of the swells. We pray for big rains and massive snow melt. When the flows come up, our waves come in. They never break and we could surf them forever … if our muscles would let us.

Alex Mauer Bic Sup River surfing
Choose your wave! Alex has pioneered the river sup surfing scene in Colorado. His current board favorite is his BIC SUP 7’6 Air River Surfer  Glenwood Springs, CO.  Photo by:  Paul Clark

The Connections between River and Rider

In most cases river surfers don’t judge river waves based on the size. Don’t get me wrong… the bigger the better! The river is so powerful when the water starts flowing really fast, it can make the smallest wave feel huge.

“Only a true river surfer could understand the feeling.” – Alex Mauer

There is a different kind of connection between a river wave and a paddle surfer. The wave opens up and the pocket of the wave becomes an extension of the board creating a full connection with the wave. Setting up for front side and back side hacks feels like the wave is guiding the board across the water.

This connection is special and only a true river surfer could understand the feeling. Its one of the rare moments in life where everything else melts away and all that is relevant is the feeling of your board dancing on the wave. This feeling is special and is what keeps me watching the water charts waiting for runoff.

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Evelyn O’Doherty
Evelyn O'Doherty, owner & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0, worked her way up the ranks in the world of stand up paddling. A former surfer gone rogue, Evelyn stepped onto a SUP for the first time in 2009 when a plaguing neck injury kept her out of the water from surfing. Discovering the core benefits and expanded perspective on the water that stand up paddling brings, Ev immediately was hooked. She became a strong SUP racer in the North East and a year-round SUP surfer, gathering multiple top brand sponsorships including becoming a team rider for Starboard SUP and a national ambassador for Kialoa, as well as celebrating all aspects of the sport with additional brand ambassadorships including lululemon athletica, Clif Bar, Cobian, Kaenon & Indo Board. Her love of watersports and commitment to advocacy in preserving our marine environments led to a short film made with The Nature Conservancy as part of their Clean Water initiatives on Long Island, NY, called "A New Perspective". Evelyn just keeps paddling. Today, she's stepped up to take over the helm at Standup Journal after having worked for the magazine for 2 years as senior online editor. Her dedication and belief in the power of print to immerse readers in the watersports they love even if they don't have access to the water in a daily existence plus a powerful desire to spotlight the amazing people doing rad sh*t on the water is what drives her vision for Standup Journal 2.0. Evelyn welcomes the conversation about how to make the magazine benefit as many people as possible and encourages feedback, letters to the editor and communication at . Now, as owner/publisher for Standup Journal., Evelyn continues to live in East Hampton NY where she has daily access to the water. When the swell is working, you can find her in Montauk rattling around in her Ford Ranger surfboards hanging out the back headed for points East.