Lunch Counter is an amazing wave, unique in its shape. It’s situated in a beautiful location which is uncommon for river waves. The experience of surfing at Lunch Counter is also different from most other river surfing destinations.

surfing Lunch Counter

The first thing that became apparent while surfing Lunch Counter was the acceptable length of rides. In most places, a 2 minute ride is considered a long time. It may even get you yelled off the wave. Lunch Counter however, I don’t think has a limit. Five to ten minute rides seem to be pretty common. This isn’t a bad thing, just different than most places. It also makes learning the wave much harder. It’s common to have to wait 30 minutes between surfs, which makes things difficult if you’re learning to river surf or trying to get the wave dialed. Even if the line is short, the wait can be long.

The other aspect that sets Lunch Counter apart is the localism. While we were there we were told through an acquaintance, that if we returned next year with a big group of other SUP river surfers, we would NOT be welcome. I was also told to not post videos of the wave on social media. Compared to the ocean, it was a pretty mellow form of localism. At the same time, it’s the worst I’ve seen in the river yet. The lack of localism is something that attracts me to river surfing.

Not everyone held this view. Most surfers kept to themselves, and a few were outwardly friendly. And as far as the SUP thing goes… there were also kayaks and river boards surfing the wave, so pretty much anything goes there. It was just a surfer who sees prone surfing as a superior sport to SUP.

surfing Lunch Counter

Obviously I ignored the advice to not post videos on social media. The idea of keeping Lunch Counter a secret or keeping river surfing a niche sport is a short sighted view in my opinion. My vision for this sport is to get as many people interested as possible. The more interest there is, the more likely we get amazing surf waves built all over the country! You can already see this starting to happen with Boise, Bend, and Denver.

Despite these things, Lunch Counter is still my favorite river wave. My advice if you’re hoping to surf there: go early or late season and surf midweek. There will be less people, and the wave is still excellent!


Written by | Benjamin

Benjamin Smith is a land locked surfer living in Colorado. He gets his surfing fix on the local rivers, where he SUP surfs standing waves.

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