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Denver, Colorado has recently been voted the number one place in the country to live. Many would attribute this title to the job market, housing, the Broncos or even the fact that Marijuana is legal here. None of that matters to me. I call this city home just for the simple fact that we have some of the most diverse and progressive paddling in the country. Here are a few of my top paddling spots.

Confluence park

? confluence park taken by David Weihnacht



Confluence park is right in the heart of downtown Denver. This man made whitewater park is a fun class ll-lll. I like to run practice laps on this short section of rapids. After I get tired of running laps I head 200 yards downstream to surf 16th street wave. This spot is paddle-able all year long. Yes even when it is snowing!

? Alex Mauer surfing 16 st wave


Local shop
Confluence Kayaks.

local tip

If you stop by the shop and are really nice to the parking attendants. They may let you park there to access the river!

Chatfield State Park

? Alex Mauer, Henry Mauer and Kelsa Gabeheart

The variety of paddling this state park offers is really unique. There are different paddling locations inside the park. The locations are very close to one and other.

The gravel ponds: this is a smaller lake within the park. This lake lays on the outskirts of the main reservoir. This is a perfect paddle destination for both beginners and advanced paddlers alike. There are no motorboats aloud on the lake. So unless the wind kicks up it’s smooth and glassy.

The main reservoir: once you’re ready for a bigger challenge than the gravel ponds can offer. You can head out onto the main reservoir. With the boat wakes offer and exciting paddling experience and a true test of balance. The closest experience to ocean paddling that the mainland has to offer.

Miracle wave: The main reservoir releases water and the South Platte River. If you are looking enough to catch a big release. You can drive over the dam to find the biggest miracle on the front range. This standing wave is one of the most fun and beginner friendly waves to surf in the Denver metro area.

? Alex Mauer taken by Henry Mauer


Local shops: SURF’SUP Colorado, Colorado SUP Sports and 5280 Paddle Sports all do rentals on the lakes.

Local tip: Try SUP Wake Surfing! Stop a power boat and ask them to throw you a quick wake. Make sure the boat has an inboard motor.

C470 to Reynolds Landing

? JB from Altitude Paddleboards and Alex Mauer taken by Nancy Bridenbaugh

If it is a friendly downriver trip you are looking for. Try this beginner section on the South Platte River. This is a class ll run. All of these Rapids are easy pool drops. Perfect for learning. The take out at Reynolds landing is the crux of this run with two sets of double drops that are a little bit more challenging. I usually run laps on these drops. You can take out before the first double drop if you need to.

? Alex Mauer taken by Mitchell Mauer

Local shop: Altitude Paddleboards they also have a permit for this section of the river. If you are looking for someone to learn from hit them up.

Local tip: The second to the last rapid is a pretty good surf wave. End your paddle with a good surf!

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I always wanted to be a surfer but living in Colorado it was a little bit of a challenge. When I was 12 my Dad gave me a body board and told me to play in the river by his house. I saw kayaker surfing little river waves and it clicked. If they can surf in the river so can I! After standing on my first river wave, I started to pioneer the scene in Colorado. Soon after seeing sup, I naturally transitioned. Sup opened up a whole new world. I could surf smaller waves, paddle down river in search of new waves and I could also paddle for fitness. I helped start the racing scene on the front range in Colorado and soon became one of Colorado's fastest paddlers. People always ask when events I want to be known for. I would say spreading the stoke and Aloha of the sport is more important to me than any race or title. I want to be known for how much I love the sport and how much fun I have on a board, racing, surfing, down river or just paddling for fitness and doing yoga poses. I just love to have fun on the water!