Monthly Archives: July 2011

:: Waterfront Rec Committee Mtg 7/20, 2:30pm

The Port’s Waterfront Recreation Committee will reconvene on July 20th to consider public feedback received at their Monday meeting.  Below is CGWA’s written statement to the Waterfront Rec Committee.  Please submit your own, whether written or in person.  Written feedback should be addressed to all of the people below:

  • Michael McElwee, Port Director (
  • Laure Borton, Operations Manager (
  • Jon Davies, Commission President (
  • CGWA (
Port Waterfront Recreation Committee Meeting

  • Date: July 20th
  • Time: 2:30pmpm
  • Location: Port building by the bridge here

Thanks for taking the time to meet on short notice again tomorrow to consider the feedback from yesterday’s meeting.

At this point I’m unclear on what decision is on the table for tomorrow’s meeting- will the committee discuss short term, high water plans, or longterm waterfront re-designations?

If longterm decisions are being considered, I’d like to strongly urge you to take the necessary time to adequately consider all public opinion, not just that which has been rallied on very short notice with little formal notification. Long term Event Site usage as an agenda item came as a surprise, frankly, after CGWA’s proposal for temporary shared use.  We certainly weren’t anticipating it would be made into a permanent situation, without thorough evaluation in a public process. There are a lot of people with emotions, vacations, and businesses on the line, and it would be a rushed decision to make at tomorrow’s meeting. Consideration of long term changes to use-designations should be thoughtful and well researched.

As for this year, a usable sandbar has reappeared and continues to grow. I encourage the Port to return the Event Site to pump & dry as soon as possible.  Per many comments from yesterday, the sandbar is indeed the preferred launch site, and returning the Event Site usage to no launching and landing would dramatically decrease the current pressure and overcrowding.

The CGWA board of Directors went out on a limb with its proposal to open up the Event Site temporarily to kite launching and landing. We are pleased that it went reasonably well prior to the return in full force of our summer visitors. The Board certainly stands to lose a lot of credibility with our membership if our temporary, emergency proposal, suddenly turns into permanent re-designation, in the middle of summer with very little opportunity for public comment.

A significant group of the windsurfers at the Event Site use it as a transition/intermediate level site, as well as a family-friendly place for intermediate kids to windsurf in a safe area in front of the beach.  This is the ONLY beach in the Gorge that is suitable for this intermediate level windsurfer.  The conditions here- easy windsurf launch, sandbar as a “buffer” for drifters, no swells or barges for people who stick to doing half-length reaches- are not reproduced at any of the other advanced launches along the river.  Without it- or when it’s changed to a congested, joint-usage beach- there is no place in the Gorge for these windsurfers to go, and several individuals have told me that they are staying away from the Event Site for now due to congestion.  Their other options are the Hook (very beginner level) or the river (world class advanced level with large swells, barges, big winds).

It is a unique site, and as such merits a thoughtful and thorough deliberation process.

Additionally, while it’s not always crowded or scary as joint-usage, when it is crowded it’s very crowded, very challenging, and very scary for the beginners/intermediates/families.  The kiting community has said that the Event Site launch demands advanced skills for kiters; combine that with the many kids, families, non-wind-savvy spectators, and intermediate windsurfers at the Event Site, add congestion, and now it’s a very intimidating, challenging and potentially very dangerous situation.

I strongly urge the Waterfront Rec Committee to:
  • Delay any decisions on long term use of the waterfront properties until a true public process can take place with adequate time for all perspectives to be considered; and,
  • Consider the waterfront as a whole, not just focusing on the Event Site, for long term usage re-designations.
Thank you.

:: Get Kids Windsurfing!

The Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Association is fundraising for Gorge Groms, our kids windsurfing club. This is a unique program, providing gear, group sails, clinics, and even a Big Brothers Big Sisters clinic each year. Please support this program and make a donation today!

We have a fundraising page set up on our facebook page to donate directly toward replacing the gear in our kids program, Gorge Groms.

How can I donate?

  • If you are on facebook, you can donate online here.  Be sure to “share” the info to your personal or business wall as well, and help get others to donate.
  • If you aren’t on facebook, you can mail a check to:
    PO Box 182
    Hood River, OR 97031
    ** Please note in the memo section that your donation is for Gorge Groms.
Stoked groms

Stoked groms gear up for a King of the Hook clinic taught by seasoned instructors Andy Crafts and Pete Dekay (Editor of Windsport Magazine)

What does the money go toward?

  • $340 buys a new 1.2 complete rig
  • $350 buys a new 1.7 complete rig
  • $380 is a 2.5
  • $390 is a 3.3
  • $850 is a new board

In 2008 we received a grant from the Oregon Sports Authority Foundation to upgrade our wetsuits, helmets, and PFDs, so the kids feel cool in new gear while donning proper safety gear.

Kids cruise inside the safe and protected Hook in Hood River, Oregon

Testimonials from 2010 Gorge Groms:

  • “We were able to transition our daughter into shortboarding because of the availability of the different sized boards down there.”
  • “My grom started sailing this year. He did amazingly well, and is stoked to continue windsurfing. His excitement and progress would not have been so dramatic without the opportunity to start out with a good beginner board and small sail.”
  • “Our sport desperately needs YOUNGER sailers filling in the ranks for us gray-hairs. We did go out and buy a “grom” board and rig but with two boys, it became problematic as one boy always had to sit on the beach. Also, with changing wind conditions, we wouldn’t have enough sail, too much, not the right sized board … a challenge !! Enter the Gorge-Grom program. Good equipment for varied conditions, easy rigging scenarios, booties, wetsuits, PFDs, helmets, the ideal location. My boys were stoked and wanted to go windsurfing whenever they could. The other members of the Gorge Groms programs seem equally as appreciative and respectful of the program and its equipment as I know I am. Any donation to this program will only help to strengthen the love and appreciation of the sport with our youngest participants and begin to rebuild the younger ranks of windsurfing for many years to come.”
Advanced clinic

Advanced freestyle clinic taught by PWA competitor Phil Soltysiak, who ranked 6th int he world in 2010

What else can I do to help?

We are having a Pirates of the Columbia River fundraising dinner at Stonehedge Gardens in Hood River on July 26th, 6-9pm.  Every penny raised at that dinner will go toward the Gorge Groms program.  Please come!  And don your best pirate casual attire for a fun night of live marimba music and fine outdoor dining.

Thank you so much for supporting the next generation of rippers!

:: Hood River Waterfront FAQ

This post is meant to answer recent questions about the Hood River waterfront beaches.  Please contact if you have more questions, and make your voice heard at the Port’s upcoming Waterfront Recreation meeting:

Port Waterfront Recreation Committee Meeting

  • Date: July 18th
  • Time: 3:30 – 4:45pm
  • Location: Port building by the bridge here

What is going on with windsurfing and kiteboarding usage along the Hood River beaches this year?

As you likely know, the high water levels flooded the spit in the springtime and have yet to recede to usable levels.  As such, as temporary mitigation for the kite community, temporary access was allowed from both the Marina and Event Site.

It has been a long time since waterfront designation has been discussed at the Port Commission level, and since then the environment has changed a lot (the spit grew in 2007, kiting was born and stuck around, and the Waterfront Park was built and is great).  This year has been a bit of an experiment for user groups along the waterfront, at the Marina, (flooded) Spit, and Event Site.

There is a Port subcommittee meeting on Monday, July 18th, that will address site access along the Hood River waterfront, and you are encouraged to attend.

Is it true that the Event Site is going to be a permanent kite beach?

This has never been discussed by the powers-that-be; however it is on the agenda for the Port’s Waterfront Rec Committee meeting on Monday, July 18th.

Will the decision be made at that meeting?

No.  That is a subcommittee of the Port Commission, and is not able to make decisions like this.  They will discuss it, and potentially bring a group consensus to the Port Commission at the next Commission meeting.  This is a big decision and would require input from the public and user groups; it will not be made in haste.

What else is on the agenda for that meeting?

The Waterfront Rec meeting agenda is posted online here.

How can I make my voice heard?

All Port meetings are public meetings and you are welcome to attend and give a brief testimony.  Written comments are also very effective, and should be addressed to all of the following: Michael McElwee, Port Director (, Laure Borton, Operations Manager (, Jon Davies, Commission President (, and CGWA (

How can I make my written or spoken testimony effective?

Be brief and to the point.  Share a story that you personally were a part of or witnessed; testimony is much more effective when it’s told first hand.  Do not get into “us” vs. “them”, and instead focus on your personal experiences and observations.  Creative and effective solutions are always encouraged.

What is CGWA’s role in all this?

CGWA is in constant communication with our membership, the CGKA, and the Port of Hood River.  We are strong stakeholders in this decision and in other waterfront rec issues, and we make sure the voice of the windsurfers is heard at public meetings and in ongoing communications.  We will continue to be very involved with this decision and will be representative of our membership and the wind sport community in the Gorge.

We want to hear from you!  Please send your experiences- good and bad- to  Your feedback is crucial to help us make decisions that are representative of the windsurfing community.

:: Port’s Waterfront Rec Committee Agenda for 7/18/2011

The Port’s Waterfront Recreation Committee will meet on Monday, July 18th from 3:30 – 4:45 pm to discuss short- and long-term waterfront items.  Please voice your comments by attending the meeting or emailing port director Michael McElwee (, Port President (, and CGWA (

Public comments are most helpful when they clearly outline a specific incident or offer a constructive solution, and are always best heard when they are brief and to the point.

Port of Hood River

Waterfront Recreation Committee

Monday, July 18, 2011

3:30 – 4:45 PM

Marina Center Boardroom


1. Introductions/Additions to Agenda                                                   3:30 p.m.

2. Approve Minutes of April 27, 2011 Meeting 3:30 p.m.

3. Marina 3:35 p.m.

  • Floatplane Dock—Airport Advisory Committee recommendation

to maintain three slips for floatplanes

  • Upgrades:  keycard system

4.  Parking on Portway, N. 1st Street, and South of Ticket Booth 3:45 p.m.

  • Towing (3 week grace period ended July 11; towing begins)

5.  The Spit, the Sandbar, the Hook, the Marina Beach                               3:50 p.m.

6.  Event Site                                                                                                               4:00p.m.

  • Review buoy placement; i.e. distance from end of jetties
  • Long-term use of kiting year round at Event Site

7. Recommendations to Staff/Commission                                                       4:35 p.m.

  • ES buoys – modify distance from jetties?

8. Next Meetings:  October  ____ 2011 at 3:30 p.m.                               4:40p.m.

(Season wrap-up meeting unless there’s need for additional meeting)

9. Adjourn                                                                                                                  4:45 p.m.

Upcoming Events* (informational only)

  • Youth Sailing Program, July-August (Marina, floatplane dock)
  • Gorge Cup, July 23, 30 & 31 and August 6 (Event Site, non exclusive use)
  • King of the Hook, August 13 (The Hook)
  • CGWA Swap Meets, August 7 and September 4 (Expo west parking lot)

*General reminder – no event contracts are written for holiday weekends 

:: Pirates of the Columbia River

Join this event on Facebook!

Shiver me timbers, have we got a fun night planned to benefit Gorge Groms, CGWA’s kids windsurfing club.

Dust off your pirate wear and head to Stonehedge on July 26th for an evening of outdoor dining and live marimba music.

  • Live music from JAMBA MARIMBA
  • Fine outdoor dining at STONEHEDGE GARDENS
  • Attire is PIRATE CASUAL
  • Dinner cost is $5 for kids 14 and under, $20 everyone else

GORGE GROMS is CGWA’s kids windsurfing program.  We provide gear, group sails, clinics and time on the water for the next generation of windsurfers.  Thanks to the generosity of Stonehedge’s owners (Mike and Shawna Caldwell), all proceeds from tickets and raffles will help get new gear for our kids.  Thanks in advance for your support!

  • Check out the event on facebook [here].
  • Join our Gorge Groms facebook page [here].

Pirates of the Columbia River :: A fundraising dinner for Gorge Groms

:: Remote Control Yacht Racing at Hood River Beaches

The following information was provided from the Port of Hood River:

On Friday, July 15 the Marina commercial dock (north jetty inside the Marina Basin) will be used by the Oregon Model Yacht Club (OMYC) for remote control sailboat regatta races.  From the commercial dock the boats will be sailing south into the basin about 2/3 of the way to the moorage slips; westerly in alignment with C Dock; and easterly to the end of the jetty.

On Saturday, July 16 (and Sunday as a backup date), the r/c sailboat races will move to the Waterfront.  On the most western edge of the Event Site lawn a pathway (just wide enough for two people walking side-by-side) may be coned off.  Participants will be walking their boats to the water to sail along and around the west jetty for a race course that is within the boundaries of the dolphins north of the Jensen Building.  No set-up will occur at the Event Site.  Participants have been given permission to use the Jensen Building east lawn and parking area.  IF a temporary dock will be used for the races, the OMYC has been informed it is NOT to be set up in the waters at the Event Site but instead on the lawn at the Jensen Bldg.

The races should begin mid-morning and finish early evening.  If you have any questions, please call our office at 541-386-1645.