Monthly Archives: December 2014

About Us: Milena Johnson

Milena JohnsonI windsurf because it gives me the best feeling, whether its speed, freedom or adventure; it’s the only sport that never stops challenging me mentally and physically or rewarding me with new friends and memories.

Name: Milena Johnson

Favorite Gorge Beach: 
The Hatch

Where do you get your post-session grub: 

Grounds Coffee

Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Cycling or SUPing

Who is inspiring to you? I am inspired by the people who share the same passion and addiction for windsurfing as I do. I love to meet people who inspire me to get better and challenge myself every day on the water!

Milena JohnsonWhen did you start windsurfing/suping and what has kept you going since? I started windsurfing when I was 7 years old at Big Winds Kids Camp. I have stayed passionate about the sport because of the amazing, fun-loving friends and family whom I share sessions with, along with teaching at Big Winds Kids Camp. My passion for windsurfing has only grown since I started teaching at Big Winds, because I was able to share my love for the sport with younger generations.

Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge? I have grown up in Grand Junction, Colorado and each year my family spends the month of July in the Gorge. During the past five years, I have been fortunate enough to spend my summers working and living in Hood River!

What do you do for activities in the winter? Skiing & Ice Hockey

Milena Johnson

About Us: T.J. Gulizia

I kite & sup because it feels like the moment you’re in is where you’re supposed to be.

 T.J. Gulizia
Favorite Gorge Beach: The Spit
tj1Where do you get your post-session grub….& beer: Pfriem Family Brewing!
tj7Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Whitewater SUP / Mountain Biking
tj4Who is inspiring to you? Anyone on the water sharing the stoke.
When did you start windsurfing/kiting/suping and what has kept you going since? Kiting since ’03, SUPing since ’09, and Windsurfing since ’13.
tj3Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge? Grew up in NE. and CO. Whitewater kayaking brought me to the Gorge in ’01, wind kept me here!
What do you do for activities in the winter? Ski, Snowkite, Surf, Whitewater SUP, Mountain Bike
Anything else you want to share? Stoked to be working with a talented and committed crew here at Big Winds!tj6

About Us: Jason Watts

“Going out on the water sets you free.”


  Jason Watts

Favorite Gorge Beach: 

 Rufus and White Salmon Sandbar

Where do you get your post-session grub: 

Lampoei’s Thai Kitchen
Favorite no-wind Gorge activity: Snowboarding and mountain biking (leaving for the coast when I can as well)

Who is inspiring to you?: Ben Wilson, Reo Stevens, Josh Mulcoy and pretty much all the kiters from Cabo Verde.
When did you start windsurfing/kiting/suping and what has kept you going since?: I started kiting in 2007.  Coming from a surfing background, I started kitting strapless my second season. I instantly fell in love with the freedom of foot movement and challenge strapless freestyle.  Traveling to wave spots, whether on the Oregon coast, Maui or farther away to New Zealand and Chile, keeps me really amped.
Where did you grow up, and what brought you to the Gorge?: I grew up in Beaverton Oregon, went to university in Santa Barbara and traveled a lot in my early to mid 20s for surfing.  I moved to Hood River while teaching snowboarding at Mt. Hood for several seasons.  As the saying goes here, I came for the winter, but stayed for the summer.
What do you do for activities in the winter?: I started snowboarding when I was 9 years old in 1989.  I still get excited when it gets colder around here.

Anything else you want to share?: Do what you love, love what you do is a pretty nice saying.


2014 Naish Mana 8’10

Reflecting back to Christmas Day, 2013, on the Oregon Coast, it was my introduction to what has become one of my favorite SUPs in the surf, the 2014 Naish Mana 8’10. In 2015 the Mana 8’10 will have only a graphics change so Big Winds nabbed some of the remaining 2014s to offer our customers at a screaming deal.

The 2014 Mana 8’10 GT (wood construction) is a beauty both on the water and off. With the exposed wood veneer on the top deck, it is arguably one of the cleanest looking boards on the showroom floor. This full wood sandwich deck offers more than a naturally pleasing look, it allows for the board to flex more naturally and freely too. A wood veneer laminate optimizes strength, and reduces weight to only 20.7 pounds, including the 3/4 deck pad.

2014 Naish Mana 8'10 at Big Winds

photo: Gorge-Us Photography

The 2014 Mana 8’10 is also available in the GS construction (standard glass matrix w/ wood standing area). This is a great option for the same shape at a price point value. The GS construction only weighs 2 pounds more, but is $200 less!

The 8’10 Mana is one of the most forgiving boards I’ve ridden, not too wide, and not too narrow. I really enjoy the 30.5″ width and at 133L, it’s super stable for riders up to 200 pounds. The compact design works really well for us here in Oregon where conditions can get challenging. When you’re on the wave, the exaggerated tail rocker and V bottom shape makes it easy to turn and carve down the line, too.

Now is the time to secure a great surf SUP for “real world conditions” at a discount of $400 off the retail price! Big Winds offers 10% discounts for any accessory with the purchase of a new 2014 Mana 8’10 GT, so if you need a board bag, an upgraded fin set, paddle, leash etc, now’s the time to grab one!


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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Starboard Astro Inflatables

Of the many disciplines one can pursue in Stand Up Paddling, the Touring Inflatable category has become an increasingly popular one. Using an inflatable SUP for touring has many advantages: easy to travel with, light weight, very durable and stow-able. Starboard has been offering two different touring sizes in their Astro line up, a 14′ and 12’6. These boards are stable and fast, allowing one to show up at any flat body of water, pump up, and go for a casual paddle or more.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThe Astro Touring boards are a great choice for people who don’t have the space to store a long SUP or don’t have a rig to transport one. They’re for folks who are vacationing to far away places, where wave riding isn’t the primary goal. They’re for the adventurer who is hiking into a remote area for the solitude of paddling where people are few in numbers.

Starboard Astro at Big WindsThese boards are stiff enough to paddle with little to no bounce, when inflated to the recommended pressure of 18 psi. They have enough volume to accommodate any paddler weight, including your favorite SUP buddy or gear for self-support overnighters. I keep a couple of boards on hand in the RV at all times and forget they are even there. We have a 12’6 for my wife and a 14′ for me. We’ll stumble upon places we hadn’t even thought about paddling at and be ready at the drop of the hat. The idea of packing away a 12’6 board and 14′ board and completely forgetting that they are with you is great! They travel by air easily, too! Taking the 12’6 to the Caribbean for touring and snorkeling was one of the best trips I can remember.Starboard Astro at Big Winds

The 2014 Starboard Inflatables are still in stock, and we are closing out the 14′ and 12’6 models. When considering size, don’t let the 14′ fool you, it packs down almost as light and as small as the 12’6 and paddles faster, too. Give us a call if you are in the market for a new Touring board, as the inflatable options are better than ever.


Click to go to




Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


2015 Cabrinha Tronic and Ace Twin-Tips

Big Winds offers a number of really fun twin tips for 2015, a couple of stand out boards from Cabrinha are the updated Tronic and new Ace.

The 2015 Tronic is a really fun twin tip for boosting and riding in surf and swell. Its updated shape this year is quite noticeable from the years past with the new Parabolic Rail offering a stiffer feel under foot, allowing for a very responsive tip and tail. If choppy waters are an issue in your riding venue, the new Tronic provides one of the smoothest rides with the deep V and quad concave bottom contour. 2015 Cabrinha Tronic at Big WindsThe softer curved tips and rounded rail means no more tip spit in your eyes and allows you to turn on a dime! Available in 3 sizes, my preference is the mid size at 141/42cm (I’m 5’10” and 165 lbs).

Cabrinha offers a completely new design with the new Ace twin-tip. A combination of the ever popular Custom and X-Caliber, the new Ace implements the same Parabolic Rails as the Tronic, but has a quad concave to quad V bottom. 2015 Cabrinha Ace at Big WindsWith slightly less rocker than the Custom, but a bit more than the X-Caliber, the new Ace gets up on a plane quickly, and provides a very fast and smooth ride. This Freestyle/Freeride twin-tip is certainly going to be a big hit for people riding in a variety of water conditions and experimenting with a variety of riding styles.

Both the Tronic and Ace are built from a vertically laminated Paulownia wood core with a new volcanic basalt laminate offering both vibration resistance and added durability. The new Hex Flow fins are another unique addition to the 2015 line-up, with a dimpled pattern over the surface of the fin comparable to that of a golf ball. The hex pattern helps to create a boundary layer assisting in the laminar flow over the fin. New rails, new construction and new fins all add to a very new feel in the twin-tip category for 2015.


Click to go to




Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Imagine Connector SUP

When Hawaiian waterman Dave Kalama teamed up with Imagine Paddle Surf, we knew there was something in the works for the ultimate downwind SUP. Leave it to one of the guys who started it all to shape a fun, forgiving and fast downwind board. The 2014 Imagine Connector is a very worthy SUP and is a steal at only $1599.

Available in 2 sizes, the 14’x 27″ and 14’x 29.5″, the Imagine Connector looks different than any other downwind board we’ve carried here at Big Winds, with lots of volume up front and thinned out through the tail. This works so well in the swell and has been tested in some of the

Imagine Connector

Imagine Connector. Click to enlarge.

biggest swell the Gorge has to offer. No matter how deep the bow wants to penetrate, the high volume, sleek piercing nose prevents the board from pearling. It allows you to really want to punch into the bump ahead of the trough you are gliding in and keeps you committed with little to no worries of diving the nose deep. The thinned out tail makes sense, as there is nothing for the wind or side swell to push on laterally throwing you off balance from behind. Foot steering is also super responsive due to the low volume tail section. Once committed to the glide, the board really accelerates to the next bump and “connects” with ease.

The 2014 Imagine Connector is available in one construction, but is relatively light for a non-carbon board. The 27″ wide model weights 28 pounds and the 29.5″ wide model comes in at 29 pounds. When the 2015 Connector launches, it will only be available in a custom carbon/wood construction, and will retail for close to $1000 more! Now’s the time to grab a 2014 Connector at a steal of a deal!