This past Friday and Saturday I was at Doug’s for demos. The forecast was for 25 to 30 in the afternoon as a cold front brushed the area. With drizzle and light rain in the Seattle/Portland area in August, it’s almost a sure bet that the wind will blow on the east side of the Cascade Mountains. This time of the summer rarely is a storm strong enough to make it past the mountains. Local knowledge is to stay east of the clouds for the best wind; and be prepared for more gusts than normal when the wind is associated with a front.
Sarah, Eric, and Paul make windsurfing a family affair.
Friday turned out to be lighter than forecast, but sailors were still on 4.2 to 4.7 sails. I know that sailors from other regions are asking why we would complain if it was only 4.7…sorry, it’s a Gorge thing, personally 4.7 is great! For me the highlight of Friday was meeting Eric and his parents, Paul and Sarah, from Victoria, BC, Canada. Three years ago they caught the windsurfing bug and have been coming to the Gorge for a three week vacation each summer. With the help of some lessons and hours of practice, they are progressing up the learning curve, experiencing the frustrations and victories that we all share along the way. They met fellow Ezzy blogger Russ Faurot at Isthmus Sailboards their first summer in the Gorge, and with his help and advice became part of the Ezzy family.
Eric trying the new Panther.
Eric and Paul stopped by to check out the new Panther, so I set them up for a test session. They’re both solid in the straps and harness and are working on completing their first planning jibe. I remember spending a summer in the Gorge sailing across the river crashing while attempting a jibe, waterstarting and heading back across the river. But all the practice suddenly paid off at Home Valley Park where I made my first jibe. I don’t remember the date, but I do remember the joy I felt that day 20+ years ago. After thinking that I would never be able to jibe, it suddenly came together. As I watched Eric and Paul sailing, I sensed that they were both on the verge of making their first jibe.
Not sure who was more excited about Eric’s first jibe.
Doug’s Beach is actually a good place to practice jibes since there is waist deep shallows on both sides of the river. While Eric and Paul took a break they shared their impressions of the Panther “The lighter weight makes waterstarting easier” was Eric’s comment, and Paul thought that “the Panther seemed more predictable and easier to control”. I answered their questions and explained how the Ezzy wave sails have evolved to the current Panther 2. Eric was up for one more session; I think he was feeling this could be the day for making his first jibe. I gave him a couple of pointers on flipping the sail and told him let the Panther do the rest. And wouldn’t you know it…all the hard work, practice, and encouragement came together, as he nailed his first ever jibe. We were cheering for him from the beach as he gave us the thumbs up and headed back across the river.
Not quite ready for the big swells, why not work on the college fund?
It was a memorable day at Doug’s, and as I rolled up the sails and headed to the van, I could hear the family planning a celebration of Eric’s accomplishment. I think our sport has added a much needed young person to our ranks. It was great to share the joy of windsurfing. Hope to see you on the beach, Gary
One of the best parts of demos…the people I get to meet. Way to go Eric!!
Note: I’m now Tweeting from the beach with real time updates. @ezzytechguy or linked to @ezzysails twitter page