The talk on the beach at the Hatchery yesterday was, “where were you on Nuclear Thursday?” Every summer there are a few days that “go nuclear” and test the limits of sailors and equipment. When I arrived at Doug’s it was easy to see from the parking lot that the only three sails I needed for demos was the 2.9, 3.3, and 3.5. The wind was averaging 27 with gusts to 32, a solid gorge day, and with the big crowd at the Hatchery there was plenty of room on the water.
Several sailors were excited to try the small Panthers because they never see conditions like these on their home waters. The small Panthers have the same controlled and balanced feel of the larger sizes, and for most sailors it is the smallest sail they have been on. It’s fun to see the faces and listen to sailors after they experience the Gorge they have only heard and read about.
The day was going smoothly and everyone was experiencing a memorable day, but it was about to become a day they would remember forever. Then it happened! Check the iWindsurf chart between 4 and 5pm. Within minutes the wind jumped from 30-40 to 40-50 with gusts to 55. We all love windsurfing, but there’s a time when it changes from fun to survival. I’ve been sailing here since 1985, and this was the biggest day I have ever seen at Doug’s Beach. The swells were nearly mast high, and water quickly became what is known in the Gorge as liquid smoke.
I was time to call off demos and watch the spectacular and powerful display of Mother Nature. Even the local veterans were coming back to the beach with wide eyes and humble words of “I’m just glad to get back”. Fortunately everyone made it safely back, however a sailor lost their rig and board across the river at Roweana. It was found the following day in a fisherman’s net down river in Lyle. I shot a video with my small point and shoot camera, which I hope gives you a feeling for this epic day.
With Tim’s (Groundswell) help this summer, I’ve been working to improve my reports with video, plus getting the word out more quickly through You Tube, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve added GoPro and Contour waterproof cams that attach to the demo rigs, so watch for your smiling face. I send current conditions from the beach on twitter, plus post the videos and pictures on the Ezzy Sails Facebook page. Please join me on:
Facebook: Ezzy Sails
And if you still haven’t had enough of me, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hope to see you on the beach soon, Gary
The Hatch was pretty sweet the same day. Not quite nuclear, but giant swell for sure!