:: Sam Bittner, Stoked for Windfest
“My whole idea for organizing the American Windsurfing Tour is to provide people an opportunity to show off their windsurfing skills and to inspire the future of the sport. That is just what the CGWA is doing with Windfest and I am happy to promote the event and encourage all who are coming to Pistol River to head on up to the Gorge for the festival the following weekend.”
You are recently coming off the successful kickoff event for the 2011 American Windsurfing Tour in Santa Cruz. What are your thoughts on how that weekend went?
Well, the Santa Cruz Classic was the first time I had ever competed in a windsurfing contest ever. It was a big deal for me personally and I was very happy with the way I performed, plus, I had a lot of fun! The positive energy was flowing! It was awesome to have Francisco Goya and Josh Stone in attendance. There were loads of great sailors there and everyone had a good time!
That was the first time a windsurf event has been in Santa Cruz since in many years. What did you think of the location as a stop for the tour? Do you think the tour will go back again next year?
It has been debated when the last contest was held at Waddell Creek in Santa Cruz. Some people say 10 and some say 15 years ago. Either way, it has been a while. It was a great location for the AWT, being closest to a metropolitan area and therefore bringing in lots of spectators. Sparking interest in the sport to outsiders is always a good thing. That is hard to do that when you are running in a remote location like Pistol River or Baja. We also got wind and waves, which is also a bonus! I would love to hold the Santa Cruz Classic again in 2012.
Are you ready for Pistol? What are your hopes and expectations?
I am currently packing things up on Maui to go to the mainland for two months for the Pistol River Wave Bash and the San Carlos Cactus Cup. I am excited for the second year of the Pistol River Wave Bash. I feel a lot more prepared and have more of an idea of what I am getting into this year. I am happy about how many people are traveling to the contest from Maui and the Gorge. I am really excited to see Robby and the Naish Family pull up in their RV.
After Pistol you’re headed to the Gorge for Windfest. Have you been to Windfest before? If so, tell us about your experience:
I have been to Windfest the last 3 years in a row. My first year was the most memorable because it was the first time I saw someone land a loop. I thought to myself, “I want to do that!” Then I attended Wyatt Miller’s loop clinic and really believed I could. Windfest is also where I met Russ Faurot and decided to move to Maui. The festival is a great way to get inspired about our sport and meet people in the windsurfing community.
Where are your favorite places to windsurf in the Gorge?
I am usually traveling with experienced sailors, so most of my Gorge sailing has been at the Hatchery. I have also had a very memorable day in Arlington where I completed my first jibe in front of a bunch of people watching. I was so excited!
What else are you looking forward to doing while you’re in town?
Hanging with my best friend Katie Crafts! And trying out some biking, hiking, kayaking, floating the river, BBQs with friends, . . it’s going to be a busy summer!
Anything else you want to share with us?
Looking forward to a great Windfest! Excited for all the live music, especially Current Swell. Make sure to stop by the AWT tent and say Hi!
Sponsors: New Naish rider!! Dakine, Second Wind