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The Gorge - First Trip
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mamero



Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 182
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Tue Aug 22, 2017 10:49 pm    Post subject: The Gorge - First Trip Reply with quote

My wife and I are planning our first trip to the Gorge this Labor-day weekend. We are still progressing Windsurfers. Could you recommend a couple locations that are beginner/intermediate friendly? We're looking for a location where my wife can safely work on waterstarts and build up her confidence. I would like to start to work on Carve Gybes. Probably someplace where the water is flat (as can be for the Gorge), shallow, out of the way of barges, and the wind does not completely overpower. Suggestions?

Is Big Winds the best place for lessons if we wanted an hour or two of coaching?

Also, what's the water temp like? Are wetsuits required? If so, what thickness?

Any other useful tips?

Thanks.
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hilton08



Joined: 02 Apr 2000
Posts: 477

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The outside (west end) of the Hook is shallow and out of the main river channel (barge lanes) so perfect to practice beach starts and water starts.
Don't venture into the main river until you have a consistent waterstart.

http://gorgewindsurfing.org/local-knowledge/map-guide/
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ericandholly



Joined: 20 Jun 1999
Posts: 241

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO The west end of the Hook is ideal for folks at your stage. The Event Site will be packed, and the bottom depth is not uniform. I see learning windsurfers running aground and getting catapulted continually at the Event Site. Combine that with a parade of 200 kiters coming in and out, advanced Foil Windsurfers, and speed sailors, kids SUPing the small waves rolling in, and I think you have a
festive, but very stressful environment to learn.
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isobars



Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18190

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: The Gorge - First Trip Reply with quote

mamero wrote:
Is Big Winds the best place for lessons if we wanted an hour or two of coaching?

Also, what's the water temp like? Are wetsuits required? If so, what thickness?

Any other useful tips?

There's no "IF" about it; TAKE LESSONS. They will shorten your jibe learning curve by years, literally.

Every day I see locals wearing full 3mm suits and maybe even hoods sailing alongside people wearing just board shorts. Both are comfortable. Add tourists and I even see occasional 5mm dry suits. I'm wearing board shorts plus a long-sleeved 2 mm top; some days I'm too warm, some days too cold ... in identical conditions. More so than almost every other choice we make in WSing, insulation is a highly personal choice.

HEED HILTON'S POTENTIALLY LIFE-SAVING ADVICE: DO NOT GO INTO THE MAIN CHANNEL UNLESS YOU CAN WATERSTART EVERY TIME QUICKLY AND RELIABLY IN CHEST-HIGH CHOP. And be aware that the river can switch from flat to chest high in a minute or two if a blast of wind comes through.

You say you want a place where the wind does not overpower. It's as much a matter of timing as location, as this place (realize that "the Gorge" is ~ 200 miles long) does not blow every day even in peak season, which does not include Labor Day. It blows when and where it damned well wants to, and it's up to us to find it or find one of the other several dozen fun things to do here. That's fortunate, because it can go for weeks without planing wind even in its peak month, July.

We could dredge up a forecast for Labor Day weekend today, but it would mean absolutely nothing. Hell, even any "today's" forecast is iffy in location, wind speed, timing, steadiness, direction (it can blow east or west at any speed up to 40 knots in Sept) and every other variable you can think up. Air temps can be anywhere from literally frosty (eastern Gorge, mid-August) to > 100 degrees (Stevenson, strong easterly winds) this time of the year. We've seen evening summaries of that day's wind be totally wrong in some cases.

The one certainty about Labor Day Weekend in the Gorge is incredibly cheap prices on used and sometimes even new gear at Sunday's swap meet.
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philodog



Joined: 28 Apr 2000
Posts: 134

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Hood River Marina is good too. The water is shallow for waterstarts and flat because the sandbar blocks the chop but not the wind. Great jibing flat water. Not crowded either like the Event Site.
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Jim.od3



Joined: 25 Aug 2012
Posts: 73

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are going to love it! Even if you spend your time around the Hook you will see the possibilities and what will be available when you develop the necessary skills. Plus, Hood River is such a cool town.
Enjoy!
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willysurf



Joined: 08 Sep 2003
Posts: 50

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 12:39 pm    Post subject: Viento Reply with quote

I would never recommend Viento for an advanced sailor as the wind can be bizarre there and there is no swell but it can be a great place to learn. There is a big submerged sandbar just a few feet west of the launch and it is a great place to learn/practice water starts, jibes, etc. With the low water level that we have right now, it is probably waist deep half way across the river. Also, the barges hug the WA side of the river there so it is easy to stay our of their path. Also, you can camp right there in the State Park if you plan to camp on your trip.
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CUSalin



Joined: 11 Mar 2001
Posts: 351
Location: Hood River, OR

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 1:16 pm    Post subject: The Gorge - First Trip Reply with quote

Check out Gorge Guide on Columbia Gorge Windsurfing Assoc (CGWA) Website

http://gorgewindsurfing.org/local-knowledge/map-guide/

And where you can take lessons:

http://gorgewindsurfing.org/local-knowledge/take-a-lesson/

CU Sailin'

Mike

_________________
CU Sailin'
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mamero



Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 182
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:23 pm    Post subject: Re: The Gorge - First Trip Reply with quote

[quote="isobars"]
mamero wrote:
The one certainty about Labor Day Weekend in the Gorge is incredibly cheap prices on used and sometimes even new gear at Sunday's swap meet.


Did someone say SWAP MEET?

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mamero



Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 182
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When and where is the swap meet?
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