On Thursday, January 24th 120 Bendites stood in a long line as it snaked its way through the hallway and up the stairs to the Mountain Room at Deschutes Brewery.  Over 1/3 of the attendees signed-up to become Surfrider Foundation Members ready to take on water conservation in Central Oregon! All agreed to the importance of cleaning our lakes and rivers before they head into our ocean.  As many of you know, a large group of Central Oregonians head to Newport and the coast monthly to enjoy surfing and paddling. Many of these individuals wanted to be part of an organization looking to connect the water sport community with water conservation.   The goal of the event was to kick off the Bend/Central Oregon members of Newport Chapter of Surfrider Foundation. Many didn’t realize the Newport Chapter reaches from Astoria to Coos Bay to Bend.

Bendites of all ages enjoyed connecting with like minded conservationist  while enjoying great Deschutes Root Beer, Ginger Ale and Beers! The Newport Team (Bri, Rane, Mike and Joie) presented the goals of Surfrider and what activating Bendites could mean.  The Bend team also connected with local water conservation organizations to ensure we are all partnering together and not replicating efforts. It was interesting to hear from Deschutes River Conservancy, Upper Deschutes Whatershed Council, Deschutes Land Trust, The Bend outrigger Club, Bend Paddle Trail Alliance and Bend Parks and Recreation on the current state of the Deschutes River, our Cascades Lakes and how we can work better together.  Everyone then spent the next 30 minutes brainstorming ideas around the room on what should we do, how do we work better together and how to better connect Bend and Newport. In the end for 2019, we landed on the following six big activities everyone wanted to see us pursue:

1. Help support 10 Barrel and Bend Parks and Rec on our first Wave Competition and River Cleanup prior to the competition.

2. Do a fundraiser, live music, barbecue and clean-up at Sparks Lake the headwaters of the Deschutes River

3. Surfcamp this Summer or Fall at Beverly Beach

4.Surf/paddle swap

5. Work with Bend Paddle Trail Alliance and Bend Parks and Rec for Surf/paddle program for at risk youth.

6. Create a rideshare board to connect folks wanting to travel between Bend and Newport.

Our event could not have happened or been so successful without the help of great sponsors.  Thanks to Deschutes Brewery and their water conservation efforts, Dakine for donating lots of great swag for attendees to win during the raffle and Newport Chapter of Surfrider Foundation helping with the registration and bringing awesome Surfrider Swag that people were ready to show off!  So if the activities above look exciting to you and you want to be involved, please contact our Surfrider Membership Chair, Rane Johnson-Stempson at ranebendor@gmail.com. She will get you plugged in.