Even though local sailors and a few early visitors have been sailing the west winds of the Gorge since April, the official start of the summer season is celebrated with Windfest, the weekend before the July 4th holiday. The week before Windfest David Ezzy was in the Gorge for a week of skiing at Mt Hood in the mornings and joining me for demo’s in the afternoons. Doug’s beach and Celilo Park provided winds of 25 to 30+ in the late afternoons, which enabled sailors to get out on our smallest sails. For most sailors survival is the goal when the conditions require a 2.9. (I doubt that many sailors outside the Gorge even own a sail of 3 meters or less.)
Sunday afternoon at Windfest – Event Site, Hood River
Shelly from Hood River gave David an insightful evaluation of the smallest Panthers. I think that demo’s work best when a sailor can sail their sail and immediately come to the beach, switch to the same size Ezzy and head back out. This is what Shelly did with the 2.9. And when she came back to the beach, her reaction was simple but telling, “creamy butter!”. Of course David asked her to clarify her reaction. “They had a smooth and balanced feel on the water. The power was smooth turning down the face of a swell, and continued after jibing…the power up was very smooth. They are much more predictable and controlled than my sails.” David appreciated her feedback and spent several minutes talking with her about tuning the Panther for optimum performance … one of his favorite things to do. If you’re a high wind sailor the new small Panthers are definitely worth a test ride. I’ve got them in the demo fleet, so let’s connect in July and August.
The Columbia River Windsurfing Association hosts the gathering of manufacturers and sailors at the Hood River Event Site. The light winds on Saturday provided an opportunity for sailors to check out all the gear, attend clinics, and even get on the water on a SUP. Little did we know that the mellow wind on Saturday was going to be followed by a perfect Windfest demo day on Sunday.
Ezzy sailor Rolf from Puget Sound shows David Ezzy the adjustable outhaul he designed for his Freeride. David is always interested in making tuning and rigging easier.
Sunday morning was sunny, warm, and the wind was building. Anxious sailors were waiting for demo sails when I arrived at 8:30 … you have to love the enthusiasm of early morning sailors. Starting with the 7.5 Zephyr in the morning and ending with a 3.5 Panther in the afternoon, sailors kept us busy until 5 pm. The Infinity, Freeride, Freewave, and Wave Panther were all taken to the party. Even the kids joined in on the fun and put the Ezzy Kids Rig to the test. It was a great day on the beach and water for the whole family, and with 50 to 60 sails ripping across the Columbia, the sport we all love seemed healthier than ever. Thanks to David, Tim from Groundswell, and Dave Nunn from Windance for making Windfest the perfect start of the summer season. Hope to see you at the beach soon. Gary & Nancy
The next generation Ezzy sailor
Just part of the learning curve. Actually mom was on the other end of the safety rope tied to the board. He was fine and was back on the board in a flash.