Review: Viento to Hood River Test Drive

We had a smokin’ big day in the Gorge on Wednesday, May 8th. Steve loaded the new Big Winds van with a few SUPers and headed to Viento. Here’s a review that was posted on Standup Zone by PonoBill:

“Boy, today sure was fun. The wind was howling, I bet we had some 45 MPH gusts–ripping spray off the water. Steve Gates from Big Wind did a test of his shuttle idea. Big success. He’s talking about starting Memorial day, but I bet folks are going to bug him to start sooner, like tomorrow. Very handy not to have to pick up shuttle cars.

“I took advantage of not having to race back to Nichols for shuttle duty to take my 12’2″ X 26″ Starboard Surfboard. It was slow, but I had a blast. I think that’s going to be my standard ride. I’ll probably take the F16 sometimes, but the 12’2” is such a hoot, it will be hard to leave it home. Constant surfing.

“It’s hard to get back up when you fall, and I fell three times (not counting the ten times I fell off trying to get back up), but it’s worth it, and once you’re up it’s challenging, but sufficiently stable to play. I cut across the river just after the split rock to pick up the waves at the Hatchery and Swell City. Even just cutting across the river was great. I was dropping down to the bottom of swells angling North, doing one of my patented weak-ass backside bottom turns and then just staying low and slicing across the river. I think it was no more than ten waves to slice all the way across. Crazy fun.

“Swell and the hatchery were big, but not monster overhead like they sometimes get. I think the wind angle wasn’t quite right. But chest to shoulder high, and I got some big drops and lots of hoots from the windsurfers. Fun enough to drop down and let the current take me back for one more run. World’s biggest escalator. I got a couple of good bottom turns the second run, and a noseride–well, a logo ride. Then I sat down, went halfway back, then cut across to Wells and rode the express all the way to Nichols. In a major league glide the whole way.

“Everyone was dressed and dry by the time I got to Nichols, but I couldn’t stop grinning and laughing. What a crazy great little board that is. It looks like a windsurfer next to all the big iron, but it’s fun.”