The Subaru Outside Games kick off this week, an invitation for everyone from the entry-level to professional outdoor enthusiasts—the casual hiker to the expert mountain bike racer—to exercise Bend's greatest natural resource: the outdoors. The games take shape by land and water, and for the less athletically inclined, offer concerts and chances to drink one of Central Oregon's famed brews under the blue summer sky. All-inclusive, as long as events take place outside of four walls.
If you're looking to take a page from The Outside Games manifesto, look no further than Stand on Liquid, a locally based standup paddleboard retailer and manufacturer that has a simple philosophy that is extremely similar to the Outside Games—to get people off the couch and into the wild. The Source chatted with Quentin Wilson, director of sales and operations, contributing board designer and avid paddler, about the company and industry that has swept Bend and the water world at large.
Wilson explained that Stand on Liquid (not to be confused with Step Into Liquid, the 2003 documentary that profiled secret surf spots the world over) started as a retailer of paddleboards in 2010. That same year, SUP struck gold, making major headlines as the world's fastest growing sport. The New York Times published an article titled, "If You Can Stand Up, Who Cares if Surf's Up?" and the husband and wife team that started Stand On Liquid, Mike and Jenny Mudd, saw a door opening on a developing industry.
With customer feedback and its combined experiential knowledge, Stand On Liquid started manufacturing and released its first unique board in 2011, The Nirvana, which after some minor tweaks, is still a part of the line today.
"It's an 11-foot all water surf shaped board," explained Wilson. "Now we have 16 different boards."
Stand on Liquid and the SUP industry are booming. After Bend received Outside Magazine's 2014 Travel Award for Best SUP getaway in the world (the runner-up was Bahía Concepcíon, Mexico), the company only hopes to continue to grow with the expanding community of Central Oregon's outdoor enthusiasts. Wilson's theory on why Bend is a mecca for SUP is logical and logistical.
"Geographically, we've got 40 different bodies of water within 40 minutes of Bend," Wilson pointed out. "With so many accessible bodies of water, it really helps to grow the industry. SUP is a great way to go out and explore new territories. Bendites are outdoor-minded. SUP is another means to gets outdoors so people are all over it."
Subaru Games officially begin at Pickin' & Paddlin'
Paddleboard Demos, 4 – 8 pm, Wed, June 25
Tumalo Creek Kayak & Canoe, 805 SW Industrial Way