Ready for adventure? Try Big Winds SUP Race Team

Open to area youth ages 12-19, new paddlers welcome, boards available

The Big Winds Stand Up Paddle Race Team is now accepting applications for the 2013 summer season. Now in its third year, Team Big Winds is made up of a select group of kids, ages 12-19, who are interested in SUP racing. Team Big Winds has established itself as the premier youth SUP race team in the U.S., with podium finishes at events all over the West Coast and Mexico.

The team is headed by Steve Gates, with coaching assistance from Jim Stevens and MacRae Wylde. All three have extensive coaching and SUP racing experience. Team Big Winds is split into two groups, the Devo Team (limited to 10 kids), where all the kids start, and the Junior Elite Team (JET). Membership on JET is an earned position.

The team trains and races from mid-June through the end of August. Training takes place early mornings at the Event Site and races are in Hood River and Portland. Training sessions are focused and kids must be willing to show up on time and be ready for a challenging workout. The emphasis is on proper stroke technique, paddling in a variety of conditions, racing tactics and strategies.

The paddlers train and race in all conditions; therefore, kids must be strong swimmers and very comfortable in rough water. To be considered for the team, kids must meet the following minimum criteria: must be a strong swimmer, must be comfortable in the Columbia in rough, windy conditions and must be comfortable in a disciplined team training environment.

The fee for the team is $125 for kids who have their own boards and $295 for kids needing to use Big Winds’ boards. Kids must have their own PFD’s (inflatable belt style is recommended) and are encouraged to have their own paddles. There will be approximately 15 training/racing opportunities for the team through the summer.

Anyone interested in joining Team Big Winds should contact Gates for more information at

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