CGWA Board Member Notes
Vol. III by Julia Norman
Ahhhhh, windy summer weekends in the Gorge – there’s nothing like it! My Monday morning ritual as I get up, get a cup of coffee, and sit down at my computer to catch up on things sounds like: “Ow, ouch, ow.” Time to go back to work so I can rest my body, that is, until the next after-work session.
Windfest is coming up soon. Mark your calendars for June 29-30. Have you always wanted to sail the Blowout? Well, it’s back on Windfest weekend! And if you’re available that weekend to volunteer a bit of your time to help make Windfest happen, register here or contact Greg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday continued a trend of windy Sundays this year; I started on my brand new 4.0 cranked down tight and ended on my 3.5, sailing with friends at the Hood River Waterfront Park. Here are some pics I took of yesterday’s sailing while I enjoyed a post-session beer:
Truth be told, sometimes I prefer the mellower days of more relaxed sailing on bigger gear, like on my 5.0 and 100 L board a week ago:
To follow up on Mike’s post from last week: we’re beginning our 13th summer in Hood River and it’s been 13 years of living in heaven. When the wind arrives, the water warms, and the sun shines, we can’t believe our luck. And then when it cools down in the fall and you sail that final easterly of the season from Blackberry Beach, it’s all good because it’s time for the slow down of winter with snowstorms and the peaceful side of Hood River. We are so thankful for our good fortune to make this our home.
Our condolences go out to the friends and family of Rhys Harriman. Rhys was a dedicated and passionate sailor in the Gorge and worked at the Gorge Surf Shop. Please read the full obituary HERE.
CGWA Board Member Notes
Vol. II by Mike Schock
A weekly column from CGWA board members to you.
- Event site June 9, 2013. Sensor is on the Oregon shore, wind is significantly stronger on the river, especially on the Washington side. Source, iWindsurf.
I’ve been living in or visiting the Gorge for the past 30 years and I can honestly say that I’m as passionate about the wind and the Gorge as I was on my very first visit. That first trip to the Gorge was in 1983, when I drove up from Portland with a friend. He’d heard stories of this great place with strong and steady wind. Arriving in Hood River, we went straight to the Marina Beach. Neither one of us sailed that day; instead we sat on the beach mesmerized by what we saw. Coming from a big board, up-haul background, there was a sense of speed and freedom I’d never witnessed. Enhancing the experience was the incredible beauty of the area with twin snow covered peaks and sun sparkling off the water. I didn’t sail that day but I was hooked…
In the spring of 1984, I drove I-84 from Portland back to the Gorge, my big board and single (equally big) sail ready to shred. Way over-powered and in a light wetsuit, I struggled for hours just to get out of the middle of the cold, challenging river, eventually washing in on the west side of the Hood River (no foot bridge) and thumbing a ride back to the Marina. At that moment, I could have quit windsurfing. Instead, I do what I still do; I went out and bought new equipment – sails and a board.
For a couple of years the Marina was “the” beach, back before it filled in with sand. The next launch I remember was Swell City, then Doug’s Beach, Home Valley and Roosevelt. Equipment has changed rapidly, technology improved wind forecasting and Hood River has become a very cool town. For 17 years, I commuted from Portland to the Gorge, weekends and weekdays – whenever the wind was blowing.
I’ve been lucky enough to be a Gorge resident since 2000 and now my commute is to Portland and back home to the Gorge – a much better drive. I sail Cascade custom boards, 2012 Northwave sails, Chinook booms, Nolimitz masts and wear Promotion wetsuits – all Gorge companies. And when I’m not working or windsurfing, hanging out in Hood River is awesome, with its plethora of local brew pubs and wineries. There’s no shortage of things to do here. Thirty years have brought huge changes to Hood River, but what hasn’t changed is the wind.
Just this morning, the wind was howling, the house was shaking and the trees were singing. Our bedroom was a swirling breeze and I was, of course, up at first light. Thirty years and I’m still possessed by the wind. It digs deep into me and gets me giggly excited, just like it did years ago when I was camping in the back of a pick-up. Today was the one of the better days. I sailed my 3.7 fully powered for almost three hours – right from the waterfront park. Jibed on big swell, clocked airtime and was stoked the whole time. Afterwards, my lovely wife came by with the dog and we had lunch at the Sandbar, beer and fish tacos. From a beach 30 years ago to the Sandbar café today, it’s been a fun and enjoyable ride.
If you too are possessed by the wind and find sanctuary for your addiction in the Gorge, look for me and let’s share a little shred time.
If you like what we do here at the CGWA you owe some degree of gratitude to Fred Noble. Fred was among the earliest windsurfers in the Gorge and with his cowboy-get-it-done attitude, led the charge in site access, creation, and maintenance. His recent diagnosis with ALS has turned his focus away from windsurfing. The same attitude he had with windsurfing in the 1980s and 1990s, he has applied to ALS research. On April 13th Fred is helping to organize the Ski To Defeat ALS event at Mt. Hood Meadows. Check out their website here.
We recently got the chance to chat with Fred about his involvement in Gorge Windsurfing and what he is up to now. Check out what he had to say below.
How long have you been living in the Gorge? I live in Portland but have been recreating in the Gorge since 1960. I worked bridge construction on Interstate 84 back in 1957. I used to curse the wind and got my first taste of the power of wind trying to carry a 4×8 sheet of plywood on the bridge deck.
When did you first start Windsurfing? 1983. I carried my board to out of state construction sites and sailed local lakes after work
Where was your favorite sailing sight when you first started windsurfing in the Gorge? Wherever the wind was blowing and away from the crowds. That’s how I discovered some of the sites we now use
What was your earliest involvement with the CGWA? 1984. Back then I think it was Columbia Gorge Boardsailing Association. I lasted one meeting as it was focused on racing and I wanted to do some development for the people. Nobody listened to me or my friend Marcia Buser, so we never returned.
I decided I did not want to join a club and go to meetings, so I struck out on my own cutting grass at Home Valley and cleaning up the beach. We wandered around and discovered other areas and started doing the same thing.. Mosier, Rowena, Viento, Event Site, Celilo, Rufus and Arlington are just a part of the big picture
What were the largest hurdles the CGWA had to get over in the early days? Whenever I had an idea I was told we can’t do that or that won’t work. No one was willing to work with us and the locals said windsurfing is only a fad and we should all pack up and go away. Agencies had no money, so I took it upon myself and with the help of CGWA, Peg Lawler and Ross Gardner we implemented a plan to accomplish many things. Of course I never asked for permission and just did whatever I wanted to do with the help of friends. I am sure that today we would be breaking a few laws.
What was your largest accomplishment with the CGWA? Inspiring many people to get involved
Where did you envision the CGWA going when you were first involved? I never gave it a thought, just wanted a place to sail.
Where do you see the CGWA going in the next 10 years? Don’t know, I left because for me there was a lot of politics involved and we reverted back to we can’t do this and we need permission to do that and we have to be careful so we don’t alienate people. Some people did not want improvements at their favorite site because it attracted more people. I figured I put in some 20 plus years and needed to move on
When were you diagnosed with ALS? December 2010
Tell us about how you’re involved with ALS awareness and research? It is in my DNA to help others. ALS (Lou Gehrigs Disease) is a terrible disease on average, end of life is two to five years. There is no cure and we strive every day to build awareness, and raise funds. The ALS Association also supports us by walking us through all the battles we are facing, loaning us adaptive equipment, helping out with insurance issues and having monthly support group meetings.
In one year 67 of my fellow Oregon ALS patients died and the same amount was diagnosed. Every time I go to support group I wonder who is next ?
To see how you can get involved visit skitodefeatals.org
In addition two dedicated CGWA board members will be leading the charge, skiing laps all day long on April 13th. If you would like to donate directly to these two you can do so by clicking on their names bellow.