The annual Kiteboarding 4 Cancer (KB4C) event returns to the Hood River Waterfront July 15-17.
This will be the 10th running for KB4C: part kiteboarding contest, part fundraiser, part community party, and part celebration of life.
The event was started by Hood River’s Tonia Farman as a way to honor her little brother, Scott Farman, who passed away in June 2007 at the age of 19 after a 13-month battle with leukemia. A few months later, Farman, with the help of her friend Garret Zallen, a pediatric surgeon at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, helped organize the event, which helps raise money for cancer patients and survivors by way of a kiteboarding endurance race.
The goal in year one was $5,000, but it raised $30,000 Since then, the celebration has grown into the largest amateur kiteboarding festival in North America, with last year’s event featuring 210 athletes and a fundraising total of $127,000. Farman’s goal for the 10th running is to raise $169,000.
The money raised by athletes goes to Camp Koru: an adventure retreat program for both cancer fighters and survivors ages 18-39. The camp is run through KB4C’s parent nonprofit, Athletes 4 Cancer, which Tonia co-founded and currently manages as its executive director. Participants in the program get to go on outdoor adventures, such as snowboarding on Mount Hood or stand up paddling in Hawaii, helping them heal and get their lives back together after dealing with cancer.
At the signature Endurance event, racers take off from Hood River Event Site to the pounding of Japanese Taiko drums.
Things start Friday with a community and athlete waterfront dinner at the Event Site, which includes live music; there is also a kickoff party and fundraiser in Dakine’s back parking lot near the Waterfront. The event begins in earnest on Saturday, and along with the race, there is the annual Boards of Hope Auction, where old kiteboards, surfboards, snowboards, skateboards, or skimboards are recycled and turned into works of art, then auctioned. Boards of Hope serves as a tribute to her brother, whom Farman said turned to art while he was confined to the hospital during his cancer treatments. A beer garden will be available and live music will also be going on.
For Sunday, windsurfing neophytes compete in a Never-Ever-Kiteboarded-Before “Race,” while those more familiar with the sport compete in the Relay-on-the-Green event. There’s also plenty more live music, food, beer, and kids’ activities, including waterfront yoga class in the morning.
One new draw this year is wind-themed art projects in the kids’ area.
With the support of Full Sail Brewing, K4C hosts a 10th anniversary party to recognize top fundraisers and sponsors over the years, open to the public on Friday, July 15.”
For more information on the event, head to kiteboarding4cancer.org.