Ways of the Wind: The eternal summer of the Gorge

A summer series with Greg Stiegel

With one week left in July, we have had an action-packed summer. Warm weather and west winds all spring have made summer feel eternal — no complaints here! The waterfront has been abuzz with fun, community-oriented events that do a great job of celebrating the beautiful place and people we have here in the Gorge.

The first major event of the summer was the Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association’s Beach Bash, which took place the last weekend of June. The event grew to include four days of activities including the Pray for Wind Party hosted by Stonehedge, an all-day beach party sponsored by Mt. Hood Meadows, and a swap meet. This event was highlighted by the first major concert in the Waterfront Park’s new amphitheater.

Although the heat was borderline unbearable that week, hundreds of people flocked to the amphitheater to quench their thirst with a 10 Barrel IPA or some chilled Naked Winery, and listen to some great music. The venue proved to be an excellent place to hold such an event and the CGWA is excited to build upon this year’s success bringing more music, bigger productions, and more fun to the waterfront next year. Check out all the photos and event video from this year at GorgeWindsurfing.org.

More concerts are slotted for the amphitheater coming up in August and September. First, a free family concert on August 2, 5-7 p.m., featuring Joni Harms. Bring the picnic spread for this one! Next up is an all-day event on September 19, 1-10 p.m. This is a benefit to support music for kids in the Gorge, so be sure to come down and support the cause!

The next major event was the annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer. Year after year, this event grows and continues to impress all who witness it. With more kiteboarders racing than ever before, a full bill of music, local food, drinks, and activities – this event is loads of fun for all! Event organizer Tonia Farman says: “We have tried to promote KB4C as a celebration of living via the elements rather than just another kiteboarding event, and I truly believe the event reflects that vibe.” The fundraising total is over $122,000, making this the best year to date.

Also on the Hood River waterfront has been the Gorge Cup windsurfing race series. Event organizer Scotia Bauer, says: “The races have been amazing this year — tons of wind, and happy to see some new racers join the mix. Two races left — August 1 and August 15 — and things are too tight to call. Local favorite Bruce Peterson is out with an injury, so the top five spots are up for grabs!”

Lastly, the Hood River Huckfest came back for a third year. Despite a light wind forecast, the event went off without a hitch out in Rufus. Using the three-dimensional GPS tracking of WOO Sports, the sole purpose of this event is to go big! Bringing the fun back into competition, riders attach the WOO device to their boards and jump as high they can go. Mike Duhaime, one of the event organizers, was pleased with the outcome: “Overall the event had a great community vibe. Everyone pitched in and helped which played an important part and I feel that is what makes the event special.”

As you can see, we have had a busy summer full of fun events for everyone! Coming up is the Bridge of the Gods amateur kiteboarding event in Stevenson (this weekend), the King of the Hook — a goofy windsurfing freestyle contest in the Hook (Aug. 8). Lastly, be sure to swing through the new Nichols Basin Park, recently finished by the Port of Hood River. This piece of the waterfront is essential in connecting the waterfront path that spans from the Marina all the way down to the Hook.

I hope you have had fun so far this summer and I hope to see you down by the water soon.

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