It’s no secret that July is prime time for the Gorge. Just try to get a parking spot at The Hatchery after 10 am when the only wind that day is in Hood River. It’s not uncommon in July for the wind to be concentrated in what is known as the Central Gorge. This week Portland had overcast skies in the mornings which gave the east end of the Gorge a head start on the daily heating cycle. Viento to Mosier had sailable winds all week, while Doug’s and eastern sites had to wait until a weak cold front brushed the region on Thursday.
Future Windance Team Rider.
Last Sunday I did demos at Doug’s Beach in 4.5 to 5.0 conditions. Dave Nunn, from Windance, brought the family for a day on the water. Doug’s isn’t known as a place to teach your friends to sail, but by watching the conditions and focusing on safety (including a long rope tied to the nose of the board), it can be done. The river level has dropped to summer levels, which means that it’s waist deep for 200 yards upwind of the launch area. It’s a reasonable area for working on waterstarting skills and even some fun with the kids.
Team Rider #2
You might think that a windsurfing shop owner would spend his day off fishing or just relaxing. Not the Nunn family…they spent the day at Doug’s enjoying the sun, wind and waves. Every summer more and more families discover the joy and fun that an Ezzy Kids Rig can bring the whole family. Needless to say, we need to share the joy of windsurfing with the younger generation.
I spent Wednesday at the Hatchery, where it seemed that the majority of sailors were from Canada; BC to Quebec. Yes, I did get there before 10 am, because the wind was forecast for the Central Gorge only. Swell City and the Hatchery were the place to be this week with strong and unusually steady winds. It’s not often that we (locals) use the word steady to describe classic Gorge conditions. I had a great time meeting visiting sailors that were stoked to try the new Panther. Dave Nunn even came by for a quick session on his lunch break…a fringe benefit of working in the Gorge during the summer.
Thursday morning the iwindsurf forecast graphs were covered in dark red from Swell to Arlington (which means average winds 35 to 45). Swell/Hatchery was the early call with winds over 30 mph by 9 am, so I got to Doug’s by noon when the average wind jumped to 35. For the next four hours the wind and swells were the classic Doug’s Beach that draws sailors here every summer. Guys and girls were putting the 2.9 and 3.3 Panthers to the extreme test. Sailors were amazed at how the Panther handled conditions that most sailors seldom have the opportunity to experience. Ian from Montreal loves freestyle, but couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try the 2.9 on this special day. “I’m impressed with the performance of this small sail. I’ve sailed Ezzy sails for 5 years, but never this small. The Panther works very well for freestyle since there is less shape in the upper panels from past years. They are so smooth and controlled.” Many sailors said that they couldn’t believe how controlled they felt in winds this strong.
Sven put on a high wind clinic.
My dad loves his Panther 2: Sven’s fan club.
Ezzy Team rider Sven Essinger put on a show for us with huge air and smooth swell riding on his 3.7. Sven is a great guy and is always sharing the Ezzy stoke with other sailors. It’s always great to see another windsurfing family at the beach. Looks like the wind is taking a two day rest, but should return by Sunday afternoon. Hope to see you on the beach soon. Gary