Alright, so I got back about a week ago and sorta in one piece!
First and foremost THANKS RYAN!!!!! What an awesome time I had and what a great group of people you are surrounded by! I felt welcome and invited everywhere. I tried to pay for some people's food/drinks as I could thank them for the company, but they hit me right back with discounts on gear and even a paid for pair of board shorts (Thanks Scott).
The scene down there is pretty chill and reminds me of a Colorado ski resort. a nice up-to-date downtown with anything you need from good eating to dive bars, to all the gear repair you need. Ryan's place was about a mile from the launch site and two mornings I woke up to strap my gear to my back and headed down to the "event site"
Day 1: Off the plane Ryan picks me up in Portland and we go straight to Stevenson. It's blowing 26 and we get out our 7 meter kites. I was so happy to kite in great weather and finally be in the Gorge!
Day 2: This was a mix of the event site AND a place further East. Overall great day, but it was blowing 30 and the 7 meter was LIT up. This is where I found out that the wind blows East, but the current runs West (towards the ocean) This provides AMAZING upwind ability. You don't even have to edge hard and you'll stay level. I was finding myself bearing off my edge and even jumping a few times just to get back downwind a little
. That was some easy kiting! the opposite current wind direction also provides swells to ride. they can get pretty big in some areas and are fun for sure throwing a tantrum in there while you ride them.
Day 3: The big boys from around the world start showing up! Hadlow, Lenton, Sam Light, Jesse Richman, you name it, they were there. Never seen them in person and man do they make it look easy. It was humbling to see them launch 50 feet not only with ease, but also throw in a dangle pass while they are up there. I stayed at the event site and went to a party with Scott, Shawn, and Ryan some more that night. I didn't know they had beer down there called "session" looks and tastes like a red stripe, but made in Hood River! We called it quits at 3:00 a.m. and I was back on the water at 9 in the morning.
Day 4: More kiting and getting really sore, but in the afternoon I ditched a 7 mile downwinder and went for a dip on one of the run-off rivers from Mount Hood. So cold, but so beautiful. Did a little cliff diving and liked it so much we went to a placed called "punch bowl" These are the videos. It was a fish hatchery and you could see fish sometimes trying to climb the waterfall to hatch up the river. After that we went to grab some bikes and do a solid one hour downhill mountain ride. A ton of fun that was and even managed to flip over my handle bars into some bushes. After all that we barely grabbed dinner before I made my red-eye flight back home. (left at 12:50 a.m. monday to arrive 8:30a.m. Monday).
Lastly, You guys aren't going to believe this! I had to do 6 self-rescues! 4 of them was because of this defect in the Best rear bridle line. It broke in the EXACT same place 4 seperate times. Everytime I was doing the same move a long hand drag and at the end you have to whip the kite back around HARD! And about 1/4 of the time I did it; SNAP! The rear line broke. I can do this move and even more powered ones all day on my other kites, so I know it's not me. I even got new bridle lines and BOTH of those broke too. The woman at the shop that gave me those lines gave me a free set of lines made for the 9m (I had the 7M), those are holding up, but shame on Best for faulty sets of 7M lines out there! the other two were because I got a cracked valve leak on my 10M and the other one was my Eclipse bar broke. I'm sure most have seen my Montrose thread were I thought the line broke on my bar, well this time I broke the METAL on it. This bar was brand new right from Bob. I think he used it like 4 times. I have a suspicious feeling it happened last time too
I broke my finger when it happened as well. Thankfully this was the last day and I was spent anyway
Can't wait to do it again someday. Who's in for a Maui trip!?!?!
Videos (select HD):
- Yeah that was me who fell off the tube RIGHT BEFORE GOING DOWN A WATERFALL. you can see for a split second I try to go to the side, but realize I wouldn't make it so i did the next best thing. GET ON AND HANG ON! nice shot of punch bowl falls after my dive in
AMAZING views when you drive in from Portland:
More views form the car
Event Site. This is about a mile from Ryan's house
Loving the sandbar although when the gusts hit 30-34 the sand hit you pretty hard, but the big boosts on a 7M make it all worth it.
A nice place to chill, eat and watch everything go down
The slider project event. That was the main slider everyone was using
more of the event. It was nice, plus a free keg on the beach!
Ryan's roomate went fishing and caught this BEAST. I didn't eat much, but the pieces I did have were gooooood
Just Bodie their lab(sp?)
Closer Mount Hood. Too bad we didn't go snowboarding! It's year round up there.
Fish eye lens pics from a person we met at punch bowl: