Joined: 30 Jul 2008
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 11:36 am Post subject: Oregon Coast Windsurfing Guide
|Here is the latest Oregon Coast windsurfing guide from Yahoo Group PDXwindsurfer. Any suggested changes are welcome.
Oregon Coast Windsurfing Guide
Welcome to the Oregon Coast Windsurfing Guide. This guide is written for both sailors who are ready to give wave sailing their first try and those that have been around a while. This guide includes advice from good friends and personal mistakes we hope you find it beneficial.
The sailing sites listed below list the most current information we know as valid for the date this guide was posted. Be aware that the ocean is ever changing and always evaluate a sailing site yourself for your own safety.
While it is true you can pretty much sail any where along the coast that you think is safe. Many of us tend to go to the following beaches. Your best bet for finding wind and someone to sail with is to watch and post your intentions on the Yahoo PDX windsurfer site at
Lincoln City: http://www.lcsurfshop.com/webcam.htm
1. MM5: Updated around 10AM everyday
a. Go to: http://www.atmos.washington.edu/mm5rt/rt/gfsinit.d3.html
b. Make sure to scroll to the top and hit the top left “LOOP”
c. After it loads click the “Single Step” and cycle through.
2. Marine Forecast
a. North Coast: http://newweb.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=pqr&pil=CWF&sid=PQR
b. South Coast: http://newweb.wrh.noaa.gov/total_forecast/getprod.php?wfo=pqr&pil=CWF&sid=MFR
a. North Coast: http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/seaside-oregon.html
b. Mid Coast: http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/florence-oregon.html
c. South Coast: http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/gold-beach-oregon.html
a. North Coast: http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/roman/meso_base.cgi?stn=GARO3
b. Mid Coast: http://newweb.wrh.noaa.gov/mesowest/getobext.php?wfo=pqr&sid=duno3&num=60&raw=0&banner=off
c. South Coast: http://raws.wrh.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/roman/meso_base.cgi?stn=K4S1
North Coast: Big floatly board and big sail.
Central Coast: Big and small gear.
South Coast: Small gear, but bring everything.
Tricks to get pass the breaking waves
1. Become an expert slogger
2. Don’t just speed out there, sometimes big waves will break and you can sail over the foam.
3. Learn to chicken jibe really fast.
Rinse cycle fun
1. If you do get caught in the rinse cycle try to stay with your gear, but don’t get involved with it.
2. Hold on tight to the tip of your mast and let the board rinse down wave of your body.
3. Be really careful in shallow water, stay away from your gear at all costs.
The sandbars change every year due to the extreme winter storms on the Oregon coast. Some years the sandbars setup for epic conditions at Florence (2010) other years the sandbar causes major shore pound, like 2012 at the Rock and Florence.
These sites are listed from north to south.
A local windsurfer sails here, you almost need a gale force forecast to make this place work. There have been reports of great waves here.
Drive thru the center of town until you hit the beach, you can launch anywhere, however some locals think the south part of the beach by the houses is a better place to launch. The wind is often very “on shore” here good for jumping when the inside actually has wind in it. Look for Portland to be hot. This sailing site will go off when all other north locations are shut down due to the heat in Portland; down the line wave sailing here is near non-existent. Many Gorge sailors make this their first ocean experience, which is hard because the on-shore wind makes it harder to get pass the breaking waves. Manzanita is far from what many of the coast sailors find desirable for sailing conditions. The on shore wind and the dynamics of the beach usually make it less then desirable for wave riding.
You can park anywhere along the beach, but not in front of the power station. This spot can often have some very nice waves. Often gusty but the waves are worth it. Be ready to move up or down the beach a bit to get the best set up for waves and/or wind. The wind here is often very up and down with lulls so it is a site for the sailor who really is focused on the wave. Check the Garibaldi buoy and Oceanside webcam before you go. Also it should show wind on the Lincoln City cam.
Live Cam is at http://www.virtual-oceanside.com/surf_cam.asp
Lincoln City Roads End Park
The launch is at the Roads End Park just a short drive north of the casino. Turn off 101 like you were going to the casino on NW Logan Road and keep driving until you see a public beach park.
This place is often the best when the wind first comes up and there is less cross chop. If you see waves breaking on the outer sand bars the waves are probably a lot bigger then they look like from the beach. At High tide closer to the park there can be a nasty reformed beach break that takes a bit of timing to get through safely. The wind gets weaker the farther south you are from the park. Try not to get caught south of the launching area. A good choice for sailor unfamiliar with the break is to walk upwind from the park about 200 yards and launch there. Many times when South Beach is shut down Roads End will be blowing.
Live Cam is at http://www.lcsurfshop.com/webcam.htm.
Nelscott Reef south end of Lincoln City
This has NEVER been windsurfed, however we think it can be in the right conditions. We are looking for a gale force wind (rumors that regular north small craft advisory wind does not get to Nelscott) and waves that are manageable. A few coast sailors have studied the tow-in competition (after more than a few beers) and they think this reef can be sailed. A few nuts from this site are keeping an eye on the conditions and hope to sail that wave before the decade is over (Crap, the decade is over and this still has not been sailed.)
Newport, Agate Beach,
Grass rigging and running water are here but a long walk to beach. This site can be fun and there is surfing just north of this location at the north end of this beach if the wind doesn’t blow. This site has not been sailed much lately; it is a great site if Road End is too big and South Beach is not blowing.
Newport, South Beach
This is a state park a short drive south past the Newport bridge. Follow the state park signs. Nice grass rigging area and outside running water. When the conditions are right, this is one of the best places on the Oregon coast to sail. Great down-the-line sailing with clean waves makes this place epic in the right conditions. When the waves are north/northwest and big you can hide behind the jetty and sneak out and catch the big ones in spring, fall and occasionally winter.
One of the most beautiful sailing sites in Oregon, You should park in the north parking lot and launch from there. This is an advance sailing place due to the rocks north and south of the launch. It also tends to blow early. You can catch a session here in the morning and hit Florence in the afternoon. At high tide there are rocks to the south so be careful and don’t get caught down wind. At low tide there is sand to the south be sure to keep an eye on what your options are if you end up floating south of this launch. One of the few places left on the Oregon coast without cell phone reception.
North of Ocean Beach, really short walk to launch, might be windy and sunny when Florence is foggy. I hope you like sailing alone because you will unless you bring someone. There is lots of tourist here so you won’t be entirely alone if something happens.
North of the Sea Lion Caves, really short walk to launch. Ocean Beach might be windy and sunny when Florence is foggy. One benefit to this site is there is a very short walk to the launch. You will have all the waves to your self, since you will be the only one sailing here unless you bring your own company. You can see highway 101 from the beach, lots of tourist will stop to watch you sail and ask you if you ever sailed the gorge. The locals call this place bone crushers, it can get really big when Florence is still spitting out 2 foot waves. There is not jetty here to break up the waves. A fun sailing site if the conditions are right.
Muriel Ponslers Memorial Beach
Brian Peters reports this is often a windy spot with an easy launch and should be looked at if Newport is not sailable on your way to Florence. I’ve sailed here a few times (solo) and had a great time.
Florence South Jetty
The entrance is about a thousand yards south of the Florence Bridge off of 101 there is a pay station here but the parking on the south jetty belongs to the Army Corps of Engineers, so you do not need to pay the fee that the ATV riders pay to ride in the park. If the rangers are at the pay booth simply tell them you are going surfing on the south Jetty they will let you pass for free. The road out to the Jetty seems to go on for a good 10 minutes so just keep driving. Don’t speed a few windsurfers have ended up with speeding tickets on the road out to the jetty. The jetty can be a NASTY place for non sailors when it is blowing! Conditions on the beach can be miserable, but non-sailors can hide behind the rocks near the shore of the jetty and be almost entirely out of the wind.
Florence is also one of the most reliable places for wind on the Oregon coast. However it can often be a late start. It is not uncommon to wait till 3 or 5 pm for the wind to start at Florence. Depending how far out on the Jetty you park it can be a bit of a walk to the water.
Live webcam http://apps.lanecounty.org//webcams/harborvista/HarborVista.aspx
Bandon, North Jetty
Roger and Dana sail south winds, you need to know what you are doing to sail south winds in the winter, do not attempt if you have any doubts.
Bandon, Face Rock
When Pistol is shut down with a thermal low this place can often be outstanding with great waves with very side shore winds sometimes even a bit side off. This is also the place to go if there are Gale force winds along the south coast. It can be 3.2 every where around the South coast with white water out a mile and it will be 4.7 with beautiful mast high sets at Face Rock. There are two places to park. The Face Rock park which is on the “scenic beach loop drive” or there is a vacant lot just a short distance south of the park (better choice). Across the street is a shared driveway that you can walk your gear down to the beach. There is a danger here. About mid way down the beach there are two smaller rocks. The first one is pretty easy to see from the beach. From the rock you can easily see from the beach there is an additional submerged rock that is about 40 yards out from that rock. This outer rock will suck dry in front of bigger waves. Make sure you know where you are in relation to these rocks! If the wind is too fluky north of these rocks it can be better a bit further down the beach. I like to use the rocks to get lined up for the sets. When you are further out you will see what looks like 3 attached condos on the beach. The northern most condo lines up with the mid-beach rocks to help you with your position. Face Rock is also a good place to go when NOAA is calling for a gale as Face Rock and the overlook point can block some of the stronger winds.
Devil's Kitchen Bandon
If you come from the south turn west on Beach Loop Rd. It is the road a mile or so south of town (not the one that comes out next to the Face Rock N. parking area). Beach Loop goes west until it gets close to the ocean then curves and heads north. It's the third
picnic area on the left. Nice little park with rest rooms. It has a big area protected from wind for non-windsurf people to hang out by the creek. As you face the ocean there is a big island near shore to the right. This is a very good surf spot (a right that wraps on the
island in a W through N swells direction) and protected from the wind. You can launch a hundred yards south of here but the wind is very gusty and crosses off. It's hard to sail the surfers break due to the gusty winds (worse than Cape S.) The best sailing is further south past the last rocks. It is true side shore and slightly off shore. The rocks form a triangle like point kind of like Rhetts for an Oregon style point break. It is all sand bottom and the few rocks there are big and stick out of the water so you can see them easy. We used to sail here a lot but then a few years ago Face rock got good again after some time of being marginal and I kind of forgot about it. In small stuff it is a real easy forgiving wave that just feathers DTL. With size it kicks back like Face Rock in that way. You never know what you'll get so it's worth checking out.
Floras Lake (Kiters and beginning windsurfing)
This is a fresh water lake with only a sand dune separating it from the ocean.
About 15 miles south of BANDON, you'll go through little town of Langlois.
*Go 1/4 mile past Langlois and turn RIGHT at small brown metal sign that reads Floras Lake - Boice Cope Park (this road is Floras Lake Loop)
*Go about 1 mile and take RIGHT on Floras Lake Road,
*Go about 1-1/2 miles ~after road bends sharply to the left~ take first RIGHT at Boice Cope Road.
Head into Boice Cope Park (entrance on left just past the Bed and Breakfest) and park at the south end of the campground in the "Day Use" area. Follow trail down to the lake's edge and follow it around to the left through the fence to Floras Lake Windsurfing (you'll see the buildings and all of Will's windsurfing equipment).
Five miles to camp ground, then take one lane road to the beach, looks fun, haven't sailed here before, however Brian Peters sailed here before and said the wind was “kind of strange and always changing directions”. This is really a beautiful place on the Oregon coast.
Massive shore pound, nasty spot to sail, gritty sand makes this spot one of the least desirable sailing sites on the Oregon coast. If you have done the 6-7 hour drive from the Gorge or Portland and are really, really desperate to sail this place is for you (if NO other place within 500 miles is blowing, i.e. go to Cape Mendocino before resorting to this sorry place). It blows here when no place else on the south coast is blowing. However get ready for all your gear to get stuck together, enjoy going through the rinse cycle 1 foot from shore, and get ready for major grit in all the pieces of your windsurfer gear. You have been warned in advance. Some hints, run out with your gear past the shore pound, usually 5-6 feet from shore, immediately launch or you will be eaten by the shore pound, Stay outside until you want to come in. When you do decide to come in, sail right up and into the sand. Lift your gear and run as fast as you can to shore before the wave behind you eats you. Then go to town and have a beer and give up a prayer in thanks that you have survived.
Sail at high tide or say goodbye to your fin, many rocks in shallow water. However Rhett is really great waves on high tide in the right conditions.
“Jeff reported this spot on PDXwindsurfer”
This is a spot for advanced sailors only. It is the point half way between
Humbug and Retz. Best approached from the South at Humbug in case wind dies or
something breaks then it's all downwind home. Technically it is not really Cole Point but that is what everyone calls it. Cole is the point immediately to the right as you look west from Humbug. It too can have a long right hander but it needs to be bigger as it's deeper
there. Humbug is a huge cliff faced point and floating south for any reason will see you in the water for a long time until you see a sand beach to land on again.
Don't break down and get down wind here. As you can see it is all cliffs and rocks south of here for 6 miles. Roger, Kenny and Jeff are two of the few sailors that have actually sailed here.
Gold Beach South Jetty
As a thermal low first starts to creep in to the south coast this spot can sometimes be sailable. It is also a place to get a morning session on the south Coast. The Gold Beach South Jetty often has a nasty beach break so timing is critical to get out. The waves here often set up very nicely.
The sailing site is located on the South side of the cape and is the first turn off at the bottom of the hill.
This is a south west and west swells sailing location. If the swell is northwest some times some refracted waves get in here but it will usually be much smaller then Pistol River. Also at a very high tide a tiny bit of northwest swell can get in here. When the swell is Southwest it can be some of the best wave sailing you will get on the Oregon coast or anywhere for that matter! It is often extremely gusty here in the afternoon, so catch the early morning or late evening session. The outside turn can be 2 meters stronger wind then what you need in the line up.
A large rock blocks most of the northwest wind waves and can set up some side off conditions. There are rocks south of your launch which I have seen gear and people get washed up on and rescued from.
Pistol River a.k.a. “The Rock”
Just south of Cape Sebastian is Pistol River State Park. This is also a turn off right on 101. Just south of Cape Sebastian you will cross Meyers creek up on your right about 1000 yards there is a large rock on the beach that looks like a big loaf of bread. This is the launch. There will be sailors here if it is sailable. The waves here can get poundy and the wind is usually on shore. If it is a bigger day do not let this place be your first experience on the coast.
Joined: 27 Jul 2000
Location: Southern Oregon Coast
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:00 pm Post subject:
|Face Rock has been sailed the last four or five days from 4.2 to 5.2. Picks up windswell real good for sideshore lines. Best sandbar on the coast from Florence south this year.
Joined: 17 Jul 2012
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:27 pm Post subject: Re: Oregon Coast Windsurfing Guide
|THANK YOU, Trudy.
I've been wanting this for many years, but was unwilling to subject myself to Yahoo's policy and practice of selling members' personal data to any and all buyers. You solved that problem.
Joined: 30 Jul 2008
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:33 pm Post subject:
|You are welcome Mike, I should have posted this long ago, we need more sailors out on the coast.
Joined: 30 Jul 2008
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:41 pm Post subject: Here's a story from the Oregon Coast
Dude,Gale's back in town!
Some years back I framed this awesome house at Hubbard’s Creek near the town of Port Orford, Oregon. Port Orford is out on Cape Blanco and a remote, utopic little fishing / artist village. It’s the kind of place you pass through on your way to somewhere else and never give it much thought.
Hubbard’s Creek has a very territorial and aggro group of local surfers. That’s another story that I should tell. It’s about how grown men can act when they feel that their surf territory is threatened by strange surfers from 25 miles down the coast. That sounds funny unless you are the one about to get the shit kicked out of you, in your wetsuit, at 6:30 am, just for having a cell phone in your hand.
My partner on the framing project was Victor “the inflictor“ Roy. Victor is the world champion in masters division in downhill skiing and he is also a wind surf legend from the early days in The Gorge.
Victor had the task of waking very early every morning and analyzing the barometric gradient models for the Columbia River Gorge. He would then record his wind forecast for that day and phone it in to a radio station in Hood River. Victor’s forecast would be aired hourly throughout the day so the wind surfers in The Gorge would know where to go for the most favorable conditions.
Little did anyone in The Gorge know that Victor was actually hanging out with the Pistol River gang down on the south coast. We were living large and having a blast while framing a really cool house, surfing and wave sailing, every day.
Every morning I would wake to the sound of Victor’s gravelly voice saying “Good morning sailors, the best conditions will be from wherever to wherever bla,bla,bla.” Then I would hear his van door open and the next sound would be him kicking the side of my van saying “Surfs up! Let’s go!”
I would roll out of my sleeping bag and drive about a quarter mile down to the beach at Hubbard’s Creek. Victor would already be there and have his wet suit on waxing up his surfboard.
My wetsuit was usually still wet from the previous evening’s session. It was harsh pulling that wet, cold rubber thing on having had hardly enough time to wake up.
We would paddle out before the sun came up every day and surf whether it was good or not.
Hard as it was to get motivated, I never regretted it after the first wave hit me in the face.
We rarely surfed for more than an hour on those mornings so we were out of the water, dried off and had our stoves going making coffee and pancakes on the beach..
After we finished the morning surf and breakfast rituals it was serious attention to business, nose to the grind stone, power framing until around one o-clock. Usually, at about that time one of us would get a call from one of our gang with a wind/surf report from Pistol River ,about 25 miles south of Hubbard’s Creek.
One particular day we got a call from, I think it was Dana Miller saying (in a sing song and tempting manner)” Gale’s back in town!” Meaning that the wind on the ocean is blowing gale force and it’s time for the troops to rally at Cape Sebastian, one of the Pistol River area’s two wind surf launch sites.
We dropped our tool belts and buttoned up the job site. We were on the road in about five minutes.
The home owner, who was a windsurfer as well, wasn’t far behind us.
On the drive down to Pistol I had a good chance to check out the ocean. It was howling! Gale was defiantly back and she was in a foul mood!
High surf and gale warning flags were flying outside the Coast Guard station at Gold Beach.
I didn’t figure that anyone was going out on the ocean that day. It was just too gnarly.
I pulled into the Cape Sebastian parking area to find all the gang assembled and rigging small sails.
I checked out the ocean and it looked big, but doable, so, I rigged a sail as well.
It was odd to me that there was such a big difference in the ocean from what I had observed on the trip down from Hubbard’s.
With the direction that the wind was blowing, the cape and the small island in the bay had created a comfortable wind shadow and things had toned down to a seemingly manageable level.
I sailed for a while and rode several medium sized waves. Then this monster cleanup set came through that completely annihilated me! I was separated from my gear and I was swimming and getting worked by the following waves. I wasn’t the only one to get nailed by that set and it seemed as though every sailor out was caught off guard by that set.
Victor, who had been charging to punch through that same wall of a wave that took me out, had been denied as well, only, he, still had his gear. And my stuff wound up fairly close to him.
Victor saw my situation, I just looked desperate! For what reason I still to this day can’t explain why but Victor grabbed my rig and was holding it along with his own while I swam over to retrieve it. By this time the next set was about to show up. I was terrified by the idea of the two of us and our sailboard gear being caught in the same mast high wave! As swiftly as possible I grabbed my rig from him and water started just as the next equally massive wave was bearing down on us. I shoved my feet into the straps and pumped my sail to try to get some power in it before the monster devoured me. My timing was better this time and somehow I made it over the first wave of the set which allowed me access through the next three waves. My adrenaline was soaring by the time I made it safely outside the impact zone.
Looking back I noticed that I was the only one that had made it through that last set and the Ocean was littered with swimmers and loose gear was bouncing everywhere in the frothing white water.
I was in the straps, hooked in and my board was on a steady plane. I was heading farther out to sea and trying to relax a bit when I realized that I was in the shadow of the island that I mentioned earlier. The further I sailed the lighter the wind became un till it was gone all together and I just fell over backwards. It was so still! There are a few places that I wouldn’t recommend swimming and the spot where I was is one of them. A nice lonely patch of still water in an otherwise violent sea felt like just the place where the landlord would look for a snack!
Although it was very still, every now and then a puff would swirl through and give me a little hope of a water start. I tried to keep my rig in a water start position but it was so fluky that I just seemed to go around in circles. The gusts of wind spilling around the small island were coming from every imaginable direction. I swam my gear through the seemingly endless calm until I felt the first puff. I smiled and raised my sail so that it filled a little then set my back foot on the board and this way I navigated with a little power and some resemblance of control. I was still moving farther out to sea. I was hoping to clear the shadow of the island and get a fully powered jibe on the outside, and charge through the dead air using the (apparent) wind generated in my sail. I’d had enough of this particular brand of fun and I was ready to go back to the beach and have a beer with the gang!
As I sailed farther from the shadow of the island the wind picked up to a comfortable velocity and then without a signal, Gale came from her hiding place and hit me like a bomb! The force was so great that I was flattened! Luckily, I still had a firm grip on my rig. There was no way that I could have survived those seas without a flotation aid!
I had been in strong, violent ocean conditions in the past but this was clearly beyond anything I had previously experienced. It was defiantly” Victory At Sea” conditions!
Panic was not an option! Every time I attempted to water start I would be launched so hard that the rig would be nearly torn from my grip, or, I would be violently flattened back in to the water. I realized that sailing was out of the question. I had to hang on to my gear at all cost! My life depended on it! On one my attempts to water start the force of the wind ripped a hole in my sail. I was actually happy about that because it made the sail less powerful.
I came to the realization that I was in the grips of energy that I had no hope of controlling! My one and only hope of salvation was to keep my wits about me, hang on to my rig and go with the flow!
I accepted the fact that this just might be the end of the road! This was it! This is how the story ends! So sit back hang on and enjoy the wild furry of nature unleashed!
After accepting that I was in a very tight spot, I realized that my efforts although totally futile were resulting in a small amount of progress and that I was actually unknowingly heading toward the next island and that if I could hold some resemblance of a coarse I might be able to work my way into the shelter of the lee side of it. A lot of things had to go right in order for that to happen and none of them were.
M y fleeting glimpse of hope vanished when my attention turned from the distant island to what was right in front of me!
The Oregon Coast is a visually striking scape with its rugged sea stacks that project from the water with the pounding wind swell colliding with them creating a visual extravaganza that will stay with a person for a life time as one of the truly great memories of nature’s power! This day I had a front row seat!
Now, this was not that first time that I had ventured into this arena and I thought that I knew where all the sea stacks were but with the size of this wind swell, rocks were manifesting in places that I had never seen before and I was drifting out of control directly toward one that was typically submerged.
Terror once again took over. I was drifting in giant waves, powerful current and nuclear force winds toward an aircraft carrier sized rock that was being periodically exposed and dry only to be swallowed again by the next swell.The sea has no conscience and it was about to deposit me right on top of it!
Once again my mortality came to the surface and I accepted my eminent demise!
I wasn’t going without a fight! SO, I made a hasty plan that when the wave deposited me on the rock,I would pick up my rig and charge with power and determination,as fast as possible for the far side of the of the rock.Bare feet or no this is life or life. My only chance was to make it to the far side before the next wave swallowed and crushed me in to the rock’s exposed razor sharp surface.
Now that I had a plan it was time to execute!
Get Ready,I’m Coming In Hot!
The monster was getting closer and closer! As Yoda said “There Is No Try!!!”
I was up and then down in the mountainous swells drifting on a collision course! The rock was only meters in front of me.I was wide-eyed and anxious for it to happen when the timing of the swell lifted me completely over the jagged slab without the slightest contact.
I couldn’t believe it! Emotion swelled in me beyond any that I have ever experienced.
The violent winds that drove me to my near demise subsided a little bit at the same time as I passed over the rock.
I was in a total state of adrinalized euphoria. I water started my damaged but still serviceable sail. I sailed straight in to the beach. I was a mile down the coast from where I launched not more than an hour ago.
I have no words for how I felt after reaching the beach that afternoon. I was physically and emotionally drained.
I took a moment and noticed the sky, the sand dunes , rock formations, drifted logs, even bird foot prints in the sand, the green forested hills were greener than I ever noticed, and a variety of other things that I typically took for granted on a daily basis were, Ever So Much More So! Greg had driven down to give me a ride back. He looked at me with a big grin and said” Man we were watching you from the beach with binoculars! We thought you were a goner!"I responded” Me too Dude, That was way too close!”
Greg said, “Throw your rig in the truck and I’ll give you a ride back to the launch.”
I responded” Thanks, but I think would like to walk back and I’ll carry my stuff, I need a little time to digest what just happened and let my soul catch up”
He looked at me and said “cool dude, ever y one is already de-rigged and heading for the Crows Nest. Take your time and come on down and I’ll buy ya a beer. K?”
“I’ll be along in a bit.” I said, as I lifted my board and sail in the head carry position and started the mile walk down the beach in my wetsuit and barefoot reveling in the fact that I was issued an extension pass to live yet another day.
Joined: 30 Jul 2008
|Posted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:51 pm Post subject:
|Here's another great story from the mouth of the Columbia River:
You can clearly see I was aware of the tide and forecast. The only person
to bite was Ben Pacewick. Ben came over at 7:00 am so we could sail the
incoming tide and get back to town early. We hit the road and get to the
coast around 9:00am. It is blowing very very hard. Lets go look.
The graphs say steady 33 gusting over 40. Seemed higher to me. We rig
and head to the lagoon. This is a protected area off
of the Clatsop Spit . This is one of the most dangerous bars in the
world. Lots of ship wrecks and lost of fishermen lost in this area.
Ben hits the water on his blaster 8.9 with a 4.1 zone sail. I have a
Seatrend ATV 9 footer with a 4.7 sail. We take one reach and realize it
is pointless to sail. We wait and hope the wind lets up before high tide
10:59am. We wait until about 11:00. Then I decide to take out Shari
Matzner's little board and Bens little sail. I sail the liquid smoke for
about 10 reaches just for the workout. It was survival sailing for
sure. I head in and Ben says the wind and rain is hurting his contacts and
he can not take a few reaches. We decide to bail..
I take my boards to the car and decide to put them away and take my time
so Ben could change in the bathroom while I put my sail away. We are
almost ready to go and a patch of blue sky appears and I joke it will probably
be sunny and blowing 20 in a few min. Sure enough the wind cuts in half
and the sun comes out with no rain. After just going thu hell and still
having my sail rigged I decide to take a few runs. It is prefect. 25 mph
sunny in a very pretty area just off the entrance of the Columbia river into
the ocean. I am having a glorious time but the tide is starting to
rip out to sea. This is compounded by the river going out to sea also.
Plus it has been raining a ton the past few days. I see Ben has rigged and is
heading out to join me. I mention to him the rip out to sea is pretty
strong but we can probably just skirt the coast and stay close to the
shore and sail this for the afternoon. We take 2 reaches. The first one was
short and I con Ben into taking a long long reach right along the river.
I thought we could sail straight up the river about 5 feet from shore.
We give it a try and we end up about 20-30 feet from shore. We turn around
and head back. The wind says I will turn around also. The bastard wind
dies and changes direction. We try to sail back to safety and miss the
mark by 100 yards. The current is pulling us away from shore and
Ben has a larger board than I do and is making a little better progress
than me on Shari's little board. This board is tiny and I sink it to the
bottom of the earth if it is blowing under 25. It is like 5 now and not
the right direction. Ben sails over to me and says try to make
it up where I was and you will be out of the direct channel. I tried but no
way I could get going. I have to swim for it. I swim as hard as I
can for 20 min. I lost 50 yards. I am exhausted from the sailing in the high
wind and now super exhausted from trying to swim to land. Fuck I can see
it... I can see people standing there. Ben is standing up on his
board and catching a few puffs here and there but I have no chance. I am now
in a panic. I decide to toss the rig and try to paddle just the board in.
I disconnect the rig and try to paddle the board in. This took me 5 min
and I was not looking around at that time. I noticed that after I tossed
the sail that dam board seemed to take off with me out to sea faster than
ever. I hear a bell and I look back and I am about 10 feet from a Channel
marker in the middle or the river. I Shit my pants, I am in the most
dangerous situation I can be in. I am exhausted, with no life jacket and
heading out to sea at about 4-5 mph. I grab hold of the buoy. I thought I could
climb on and wait for rescue. I have one hand on the buoy. Some large ring
that is welded on to it. The board is getting ripped out of my hand. I
thought Just climb on. Then I think I am too tired to climb this smooth
slippery metal thing. I would need two hands to pull up on to it and
let go of the board. I know damn well that board would take off and
go way faster than I could swim after it. I also know that if I try some
pull ups and fail that board would be gone gone gone. I decide to stay with
the sure thing the board.
I panic and paddle my ass off with the current at a 20 degree angle toward
shore. The last bit of land in sight that is one mile away. I probably
gave it 45 seconds of hell and then collapse in fatigue.
This is the first time I take a look at where I am heading. WOW huge 15-17
foot breaking swell about 2 miles away. I relax and await death. I sit
on the board and wave my arms but I am just a speck to folks on shore. I
noticed Bens sail up in the air near shore and then I see it drop. Now I
go by another buoy. I am going to die. The water is 50 the air is 50 and I am
going hypothermic , exhausted with no life jacket. I look again where I am
heading. I decide to stop fighting and relax. Maybe a short nap and I could be
strong for a paddle in to land once I am in the surf. I figured I would
just hit the ocean and then the surf would take me left or right and
paddle in on the huge waves. I know I could not paddle but I fool myself
into thinking I can recover. I will need to regain my strength for the
fight of my life. I also know that once I loose the board I am dead. I
will be rolling around in 15 foot breakers soon. How can I attach myself to
the board. I take off my harness. Noticing that that was hard I knew I
was a goner. I toss the reactor bar and tie the waist band to a front foot
strap and the webbing around my wrist. Now I am restricted to the
board. I can not paddle now but I can not anyway. At least my body
will have a chance of being recovered. It was not scary, once I knew it was
over. I thought again about napping. I tried to rest. After
about 10 min with out swimming I start to shiver. After about another
10 min my leg cramps. Holy Shit I can not even swim now and I am
losing consciousness. For some reason I took off my hat.
Now I know I am loosing it and I am in shock. I try to think clearly
and put that hat on. I jump off the board and put my leg up on it to
stretch out the cramp.. Then I notice I am way up in the air and I
can see land off in the distance. And then the classic locomotion sound of a
breaking wave. I had just ridden my first swell and it broke after It
passed me. It was impressive. They are breaking into the Columbia.
Trust me I am not near shore any more. Looked back and here comes the next
one. Forgot about my cramp and adrenaline kicks in and I tumble my first
wave. I took it pretty well with a long ride and a little tumble after
it. I was now about 3 miles from shore and the breaking waves were
huge but not that frequent. I start looking around and notice I can
not tell my direction anymore. I know it will not be long now. Why did
the folks on shore not call the coast guard. The Coast Guard were flying
around a few hours earlier. Where are they now. I look and I see a huge
ship go into the Columbia. Some giant cargo thing about 1-3 miles
away. I give a few waves with the unleashed hand and then lay down. I am sure
I am not visible and they would be looking at land after not seeing it for
who know how long. This is it. I was constantly amazed at how fast I was
traveling. I could tell I was moving fast by how fast the buoys were
going by. Here comes another buoy. I try to get to it but once again just
exhaust my self. Plus this one is giant. I do see something
interesting ahead. A giant whirl pool. This is the ocean water meeting the
mighty Columbia. I think it will suck me under and I decide to just let
it happen. Surprisingly I travel across this football
field size of turbulent water quite easily. Almost happy it was flattish......
I take a few more waves and then decide to turn the board around so I could
get more of my body out of water. This worked well
because my pelvis was out of the water and it felt warmer. But I could not
take the waves in this position. I figure it will be about 15 min if
the waves keep hitting me. I was kind of happy to be in the middle of the
channel because the swell was not breaking all that often. Maybe I could
last another 30 min. So far I have had 4 waves break and the rest
(maybe 20) just pushed me up and down. I kind of start to get sea sick.
Maybe it was knowing I was going to die. I tried to pee and warm up my suit.
Nothing. A seal came over and checked me out. I yelled at it. It
left and then I felt lonely. Why did I scare it away. Hell a shark would
have been ok with me. At least I would not die alone....
Then I see a coast guard chopper. It is of course not coming over by
me. I get in the water and wave the board in the air.
It is green and I am black so I figure it is worth a shot. Then the
helicopter suddenly turns my way and I climb back on the board. I was not
relieved for some reason because I still had to negotiate the waves. I
guess I was a little relieved but somehow I did not believe I was going to
live. The copper hovered down about 50 feet away about 50
feet high. I was thinking , come on do something. Then after what
seemed like 10 hours but was probably 2 minutes the chopper moves closer and
the spray is hitting me now. I diver (Dave) jumps out and swims over to me.
The first thing I say is I probably only have 1/2 hour before
unconsciousness. He says "You are doing great" What is your name, I say rich
and then he asks me what day it is. I say Saturday. I ask him if he has a life
jacket for me. He says no. I ask again. He says no. I then tell him I will
not be grabbing hold of him or panicking in any way. He seems relieved. I
again ask for a jacket. He explains the procedure for the basket.
Keep your arms and legs inside. I say ok and let go of the board. I
relax, but just then a breaker hits us and takes the board away. I watch it
race down the wave but we somehow crest without being tossed. Dave swims
me over to the basket. I climb in and notice the cable then realize
my arms are outside the basket. I get in a ball and then Dave motions the
guy to take me up. I am amazed that Dave is hanging in the basket
for like 10 feet. Is he going to ride up like that. Then he lets go and I
go up to the copper. This is the first time I am relieved and my
emotions overtake me and I am crying. Dave explains later that he was
hanging on to steady the basket from swinging. SOP. I reach the copper and
my arms again are outside the basket. I get them in and they hoist me
into the copper. I am sitting inside and shivering and sobbing. I see they
get Dave up and then notice this guy has a movie camera in my face. It
kind of freaks me out but I am in shock and do not say anything. I was
thinking maybe this is for insurance purposes. He looks like all the other
guys. Orange jump suit and all. Dave says we are going to the hospital
and I say no way. The other guys say Hospital and I say that I do
not need to go and then try to talk as smoothly and coherently as
possible. They start with the drill of my name and what day is it. Dave says
that "He seemed pretty coherent in the water" and maybe we should take me to
the airfield. One guy says there is an ambulance at the airfield. Lets
go. I asked if there was anything behind me and if I can lean back
against it. Dave says sure. I lean back and the fucken camera was in my
face. They hand me a blanket and I cover up. Again off came the hat. Dave
put it back on and I took it off again. Clearly I was not thinking. I put
it on and basically passed out with my arm and head against my knees.
We land and they try to get me on a stretcher. I am pretty argumentative
and say I want to walk. I start walking in circles because it felt good to
stand and walk. The ambulance guy gets real close to me and says I do not
like the camera and we can talk in the VAN. He was my best friend
because I also did not like the camera and he said van instead of ambulance. I
lay on the stretcher and he take me to the ambulance. The camera guy is all
over it. I put the blanket over my face and yelled, now I know how Madonna
feels. The put me in the ambulance and I figured that was it. I was going to
the hospital and all I wanted to do was go home. I say that I am an adult and
I refuse service. They had me fill out the paper work and I leave the
ambulance. The ambulance guys and the coastguard guys talk and the let me walk
to the building and I get my wetsuit off and call my cell thinking Ben would
answer. They explain he was the one who called. I asked if anybody else
called and they said no just Ben. I seemed like people where watching me get
towed out to sea. I guess some dude was probably telling his girlfriend,
Look that guy is really getting after it to go out and catch the storm
waves. Who knows..... It was very very possible Ben and I could
have both been out to sea and that NOBODY would have called.
Ben arrives and I get into dry cloths and I am still shivering, violently
and probably should have got to the hospital. But I suppress the shivering
and fake that I am ok and eventually warm up after about 45 min.
The camera guy talks to me and explains he is from the Learning Channel and
they were filming Coast Guard training. He want to interview me and I was
reluctant. I asked him if he was going to sell this to the news and he say
NO way and really explains that is the last thing he would do. I agree to
an interview. Ben and I go looking for them after a bit and we wander
around the hanger. One guy said the pilot wanted to meet me. I wanted to
ask him how far out I was. There are some choppers in there and they are
big. We found nobody around. We went outside and asked someone were
everybody was. Then someone showed us the upstairs of the hanger. Crew
quarters and a big screen TV. The learning Channel guy was watching the
footage with everybody else. I get to see it. It was embarrassing and I
felt like an idiot. I do not know why. I was going to die, without
rescue. The coastguard guys were giving each other shit about
stuff. Like, look Jim it took you two times to hook the basket etc.....
I thank everybody and Ben and I go downstairs and they interview me. One
of the crew says FOX news is on the way and I get another reassurance from
the learning channel guy that he is not going torelease the footage. I
asked for a copy.. Hopefully I get one. They have myinfo. Ben and I leave out
the back door and split. Just before we left the coast guard secretary type
says to me. We have to put out a press release and if there is footage the
news will get it. 50/50 I think.
I get home and watch fox news. This is going to suck ass. Me crying on
TV... The news starts. Car crash "with a gleam in her eye" and then
another car crash. Then there it is. Windsufer Rich Parups (she
butchered my name) was overcome by the wind and had to be rescued. Dramatic
footage is seen here. They they show the tape. Luckily they only
showed the hoist up and not my sobbing in the chopper. I wish they would
have shown me letting go of the board and getting swum over to the basket.
That was the only time you could appreciate the size of the swell.....
I taped it and went to sleep. Sunday I put my stuff away and returned some
of Bens stuff. I then went and purchased wireless network stuff for the
house. I shopped for new windsurf stuff but the shop in Portland sucks. I
will have to go to hood river to get a new harness and stuff. I got home
around 3:00 pm. At 4:00 I notice a woman standing in my drive way with a
business suit on. She asks me If I am Rich Parups and I say nope. Then
she asks me if I know where he is etc.... I confess It is me but I do not
want to be on the news. I asked how she got the footage but she seemed to
not know anything about that. She even asked me how they got it. I told
her to get lost and not to use any of the footage of the interview of
me. This was probably a mistake because she gave up easy and
left. Probably looking for that interview. I watched the news and some
dude getting shot out of a cannon was one of the stories, so I figure I was
safe. Just one embarrassing segment they showed. I guess it was in the
paper also, but nothing big.
That is it attached is a map, of the ordeal.... Happy to be alive, Rich......
Video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cz46bbBvoWQ
Joined: 18 Mar 2006
|Posted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:20 am Post subject:
|Wow! I'm you're still with us, Rich.
Too bad Isobars wasn't around to sail you back to shore on his back. Like he's done 10's of thousands of times!
I spend all my money on windsurfing and beer, the rest I just waste!
||All times are GMT - 5 Hours
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