Will Cortez: It Doesn’t Always Rain in Oregon

It Doesn’t Always Rain in Oregon

Instagram Handle: @will.version.two

LocationHenry Hagg Lake in Gaston, OR

Board: ISLE Explorer

A great escape

The secret is out on Hagg Lake. It sits less than 40 miles west of Portland, Oregon — nestled in the beautiful Scoggins Valley. There’s not a weekend that the lake isn’t packed full of people fishing, wake boarding, running, and cycling on or near its shores, but it’s still my go-to location for paddle boarding. Its multiple inlets offer the chance to explore, observe local fauna, hammer out a  workout, and of course, a chance to just be a part of nature.

 I grew up splitting my time in Hawaii and Southern California, so when I made the trip up north to Oregon 25 years ago, I thought my days in the water were behind me. That’s a hard pill to swallow when you’re a Navy brat with a love for the wet stuff.

Pro Tips:

  • Watch the forecast! In a state like Oregon, the weather can be drastically different an hour away!
  • I like to keep a small, hand broom with my board for use when rolling it up. Great way to brush off excess water, sand, dirt, rocks, etc. when rolling it up to transport.
  • Skip the electric pump and use the manual, pump especially during cold days. What a great way to warm up!


Hagg Lake has several inlets to explore that give way to calmer waters and a chance to spot local fauna.

Evening paddles make for stunning sunsets. They’re even better with friends

It does get cold enough to warrant a head-to-toe wet suit.