Hailing from Oregon, guest contributor KM Collins is a geologist gone writer. Discovering she was a freshwater mermaid late in life, she started paddling 10 years ago and has been upping the ante ever since. First as a paddleboarder, then as a kayaker and finally, recently, buying her first raft. Roller skating, snowboarding and cycling rank among her favorite land-based activities.
Roses are red, violets are blue, mid-winter river flow levels are up and my spirit is renewed.
Chocolates are dark, filling is creamy, when the river rages paddleboarding is oh so dreamy.
Amethysts are purple, diamonds are icy, frigid water is slapping me but I’m picking lines so spicy.
Champagne is classy, wine is bold, dropping horizon lines and blind canyons never gets old.
Candles are lit, slow jams are on, the rush of the river is my favorite song.
Stilettos are tall, cheeks are rouge, my fin catches the current of the precipitous deluge.
Bath is bubbly, strawberries are sweet, rock dodging through boulder gardens is the ultimate treat.
Pillows are soft, garments are lacy, fleece long johns constitute lingerie so the cold won’t phase me.
The first time I crossed paths with the Cascade Inflatable Paddleboard (10’ and 11’) 5 years ago, I remember how poppy the royal blue design was against the white and black of the deck pad. The Cascade was my trusty steed and I took it out frequently on the town stretch of the Deschutes River, in Bend, Oregon, where Aquaglide is headquartered. I love its reliability, rain or shine, hot or cold, it was always stowed rolled up in my car, ready to be inflated at a moment’s notice to take me on a hydro magic carpet ride across the Deschutes. Although this paddleboard is manufactured with superior drop-stitch construction, stability and all around performance, perhaps I love the board because of all the amazing experiences it has accompanied me on. The perfect partner for a single girl on a solo adventure. Here are three unexpected and unconventional reasons I am so in love with this paddleboard that I (almost) want to marry it.
The Cascade has a wide and stable deck, excellent for shooting photography. You can yard sale components across the embossed deck pad without fear of losing tumbling parts of your GoPro mount system to the waters’ edge. The texture of the deck pad is engineered to catch and hold feet in swift water, as well as miscellaneous gear parts. In addition, when standing and holding a camera the possibility of a fall could be intimidating. With the Cascade, I have never fallen in while shooting. Although the board performs with the best of them, it also supports my weight without any shaky surprises when I am holding still to shoot. If you're into collecting image content from your SUP, this is the board for you.
Disclaimer - am I saying you’ll never lose gear in the water? NO. Accidents happen. But, if you want to try your hand at on-water photography, this is the board to try it on.
Rescue Party Barge
It’s time to float a mellow social section of river with friends again, you know the drill. Either from paddling unstable, off-brand Costco boards or from too many libations, one of your friends always ends up in the drink. The board goes flying one way, they go flying the other and it’s up to you to drag the sodden buddy to safety on your board, then collect their yard sale-d gear. What are friends for, right? Good thing you're on your super stable, super beefy Cascade. Just saying.
Opps, where am I sleeping tonight? I forgot my tent and sleeping pad… bummer. Don’t risk the walk of shame to a sand pile with your sleeping bag in tow. If you bring your paddleboard on every multi-day raft trip, you’ll always have a nighttime sleeping nest. In fact, you may grow to love this sleeping arrangement so much, you purposely abandon your tent and pad altogether. Actually, forget bedtime - there’s bound to be a couple mile stretch of flat water. Jump on your board, lay down and rest your eyes… Open them every once in a while to reposition and stay on course. The truth is, a paddleboard is a floating hammock for one. It’s our little secret.
Happy Valentine's Day from me and my beloved Cascade - see you on the water!