Category Archives: Events

Fiona Wylde: First Woman to Qualify for Men’s Sunset Beach Pro

Big Winds favorite waterwoman, Fiona Wylde, checks in from Turtle Bay:

fiona1Hi All,
The Men’s Stand Up World Tour Sunset Beach Pro holding period started directly after the completion of the Women’s Turtle Bay Pro. Myself and one other girl, Izzi Gomez, last year’s World Champion, received the opportunity to enter the Trails to see if we could make it into the main event. When I was put in the brackets, I wasn’t concerned about making it to the main event, I was concerned about making it out of the shore break. On Thursday, Sunset was stormy and surging between 10-15ft Hawaiian, so I put on an impact vest and paddled out. Once I got out there, I caught the best, most exhilarating waves of my life! I placed second in my first heat of the trials and advanced to the Quarter Finals. If I made it out of the Quarters, I would have a place in the main event. I didn’t think of it like that, I concentrated on staying safe and not getting caught inside, but also to catch good waves. I got second in the Quarter Final heat and qualified for the Men’s main event! Unfortunately Izzi did not qualify. This makes me the first woman to ever make it to the Men’s Main event!!! They did not continue the trials to get a winner, but stopped after the Quarter Finals so they could begin round one of the main event and save some time. fiona3

The following day, Friday, conditions calmed down and we had fun 6-8ft Sunset to enjoy, but not without tricky Kona winds for round one and two of the Main event! In round one, I got fourth in my heat, but still got some fun waves and started to figure out Sunset more. In round two, I placed second in the heat and scored a 5.67 backed up by a 2.93! I only caught two waves because I broke one of my boards and it took me a while to get back out to my caddy who had my second board. However, only the first place in the repechage heats move on along with the two highest second place heat scores out of the round. I had the third highest heat score out of the repechage and missed out on round three by only 1 point!
fiona2
This has been such an amazing experience and I have learned so much about my surfing and my personal levels. I was not necessarily competing against the guys, but against myself and seeing how much I would push myself. What I am most excited about is that I didn’t back down when it was big and gnarly, but I went out and actually had fun.
fiona4
My good friend and amazing cinematographer, Forrest Ladkin, is making an edit of the event for me and I will send it out once it’s complete. In the mean time, here are a couple photos from Brian Bielmann, some screen shots and the video recaps of Day one and two where you can see me surfing and doing some interviews. Thank you all so much for your support!

Talk to you soon,

~Fiona Wylde

Free Lessons and Happy Hours at Big Winds

Check out our August calendar and join Big Winds for some August windsport fun!

At-A-Glance (more details below)

  • 8/5 Ladies Downwind Prep Class
  • 8/7 Ladies Learn to Kite Happy Hour
  • 8/8 Ladies Free Intro to Windsurfing
  • 8/12 Ladies Downwind Prep Class
  • 8/19 Shop Talk with Dave Kalama and Imagine SUP
  • 8/21 Meet and Greet with SIC International Team
  • 8/22 Positively Kai Event
  • 8/23 and 24 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

Daily: Big Winds Downwind ShuttlesBig Winds Downwind Shuttle

Leaves Event Site Center at 1:30. Just $12.

(Additional shuttle times available as demand warrants.)

 


Daily: Big Winds Downwind Prep Class

Get ready to tackle the Viento run with great tips on rough water techniques, catching swell, cross wind paddling, upwind paddling and more.

Big Winds Downwind Prep Course

Tuesdays, August 5 and August 12: Big Winds Ladies Downwind Prep Class

For those who want to do a downwinder but aren’t quite ready for one, this is the class for you. This is not an advanced class, it is an introduction to paddling in windy conditions. You should already have a good strong paddle stroke on flat water. This is NOT FOR BEGINNER paddlers. You’ll get all the great info as our regular Downwind Prep Class, with a focus on girl power and at a special price — $55 (reg. $69). Call us to sign up at 888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086.


Thursday, August 7: Ladies Learn to Kite Happy Hour

Ladies Learn to Kite Happy Hour

 

Here’s a FREE event from 5-6 PM at the Big Winds shop to familiarize ladies looking to get into kiteboarding.
There will be in-shop discussions, demonstrations and specials on beginner equipment, lessons and tools.  We will offer discounts on Trainer Kites and Progression DVD’s. Refreshments too!

 

 

 


Friday, August 8: Ladies Free Intro to WindsurfingLadies Free Intro to Windsurfing

 

 

This class will take place between 9:00 and 10:30 AM at the Big Winds Adventure Center at The Hook, led by our awesome female instructors, Heidi and Ondine. All gear is included. This is a great way to get acquainted with this fun Gorge sport! All participants will be offered a discount on signing up for our Learn to Windsurf, Three Lesson Package. Please call to register as this class is limited to 20 students. 888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086.

 

 

 


Sunday, August 10: Free Intro to SUP

Big Winds Free Intro to SUP

Learn the basics in no time with on-land and on-water instruction! We’ll meet from 9 to10 AM at the Big Winds Event Site SUP Center.

  • Site and weather orientation
  • Introduction to equipment
  • Safety
  • Proper paddle usage
  • Getting started: launching
  • Knee paddling
  • Stand up paddling
  • Board maneuvers
  • Deep water restart

This is for anyone 12 years and over with swimming ability. Call us to sign up at 888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086. Limited to 30 students.


Tuesday, August 19: Shop Talk with Dave Kalama and Imagine SUPShop Talk with Dave Kalama

This is a meet and greet with surfing legend Dave Kalama. You’ll hear about his extensive paddling background, a new line of SUP boards by Imagine and he’ll answer your questions. This will take place at the Big Winds shop from 5 to 6 PM.

 


Thursday, August 21: Meet and Greet the SIC International Team

SIC SUP TeamThe SIC International Team will be at the shop to socialize, sign posters, talk board shapes, etc. SIC has one of the most successful and talented SUP Open water, Downwind race teams on the planet and they’re all here for the Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge. 5 PM at the shop.

 


Friday, August 22: Positively Kai

Positively Kai

Big Winds presents the most popular kids SUP event on the planet! Meet multiple World Champion Kai Lenny, Gerry Lopez and Chuck Patterson. Instruction by Big Winds Junior Elite Team, with equipment provided. This is a free event at the Hood River Waterfront Park from 4 to 6 PM.

Sponsored by:


Saturday and Sunday, August 23 and 24: Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

One of the year’s top SUP events returns to Hood River for its fourth year. Exciting races will fill the weekend, featuring the world’s elite paddlers, men’s and women’s open classes and groms, too!

Join us for all the fun!

Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086

www.bigwinds.com

August is Downwind Month in the Gorge!

The water is warm, the sun is shining, the current has backed off and the wind…

well the wind is cranking! It must be August in the Gorge, prime time to take advantage of some of the best SUP downwind conditions on the planet!

And Big Winds has plenty of downwind activity to fill the entire month:

dwmonth-shuttleBig Winds Daily Downwind Shuttle: Leaves from the Big Winds Event Site Center daily at 1:30. Additional shuttle times available depending on demand. Just $12.

Big Winds Downwind Prep Class: Offered daily . This is the best way to get ready to tackle the Viento Run!

bigwinds clinics and prep class

Big Winds Downwind Clinics: If you’re about ready for your first Viento Run or want great tips on how to do it faster, join us on August 3 or August 10 for a Downwind Clinic, which includes instruction, the Big Winds Shuttle and a Viento Run.

Positively Kai, August 22:Positively Kai

The most popular kids SUP on the planet returns to Hood River! Hosted by Big Winds and featuring Kai Lenny, multiple World Champion, this event is for the whole family.

 

 

 

Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, August 23 & 24: This is THE BIG ONE! One of the top SUP events of the year comes back to Hood River for the fourth year. The best paddlers from across the globe descend on Hood River for a weekend packed with exciting racing. This event offers something for everyone so come join us!

Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge

Click on any image to enlarge.
Click to go to bigwinds.com

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Big Winds SUP Team in the Molokai to Oahu (M2O)

Rob Dies, Gregg Leion and Big Winds GM, Steve Gates, are on Molokai gearing up to compete in the Molokai to Oahu (M2O) race on Sunday as a three person SUP team. The link below will show their progress in realtime on Sunday as they cross the Ka’iwi Channel or the ‘Channel of Bones’ between the islands of Molokai and Oahu – a 32 mile crossing! They have a support boat and take turns paddling. Their race begins 8 AM Hawaiian time (11 AM Pacific Time) and will take about 6 to 7 hours, depending on wind and swell (the windier & bigger the better). They flew over the channel yesterday on their way from Oahu to Molokai and the scale of the crossing is impressive — it isn’t your typical Viento downwinder!

Ka'iwi Channel

Ka’iwi Channel

The team number is #309. This website will track their progress — it takes a few moments to update.

Here’s the event website.

 

Big Winds hosts “Kite with the Pros”

Big Winds is hosting Kite with the Pros this Saturday, July 19th at the Spit on the Hood River sandbar. The action begins at 11:30 AM and will continue until about 2:30 PM. (The forecast looks good, but just in case, Sunday, July 20th is an alternate day if there’s no wind on Saturday.) The event is free.

Jason Watts

Jason Watts. Photo: Gorge-Us Photography.

Expert kiteboarders will be on hand from Cabrinha, Naish, and North to answer questions and demonstrate specific riding styles and techniques. Matt Elsasser and Jason Watts will cover strapless surf and freestyle riding for Cabrinha. The Richman Brothers — Shawn and Jesse — from Naish, will focus on big air and freestyle. Craig Cunningham and Colleen Carroll from North will cover wake style tricks and sliders.

Jesse Richman

Shawn Richman. Photo: Gorge-Us Photography.

This will be a fun and informative event for kiters of any level and it promises to be a dynamic scene for spectators as well. With so many accomplished and progressing riders right here in the Gorge, we decided to bring the pros to them.

Matt Elsasser

Matt Elsasser

Kite with the Pros is a free event hosted by Big Winds and partners from North, Naish and Cabrinha. For more information feel free to call the shop at 541-386-6086.

Colleen Carroll

Colleen Carroll

Hope to see you there!

–TJ

www.bigwinds.com

Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa SUP Demo

surftech4Big Winds is hosting a free demo of Surftech SUP boards and Kialoa paddles, Sunday, July 6th at the Slackwater Beach from 10 to 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come on down and try out these models of SUP boards:Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa Demo

  • Dominator 14′
  • Challenger 12’6″
  • Appleby Race 12’6″
  • Hero 11′
  • Generator 10’6″
  • Generator 11’6″

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Winds Surftech and Kialoa DemoAnd these paddles:

  • Kialoa Insanity
  • Kialoa Hulu

No sign-ups necessary. Just meet us down there at 10 and take them out for a spin! Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

Big Winds Ladies Night

Tuesday, July 8, 5:30-7PM


Big Winds Ladies NightThis multi-sport event is designed to build camaraderie among women who are active in (or want to learn) stand up paddle boarding, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Bring your friends or make new friends!


  • Wine and refreshmentsBig Winds Ladies Night
  • Coupon goody bags
  • Door prizes
  • Special pricing on gear in each department!

Big Winds Ladies NightAttendees can hear from experts in their respective sports. There will be opportunities to join social media groups and sign up for email blasts about women-specific events and clinics. Yoga instructor Rayna Morton will share about Big Winds’ new SUP Yoga classes.

Hope to see you there!

Daryl


Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

 www.bigwinds.comladies-shop3

Youth Paddle Days, May 16-19, 2014

paddle-days-banner-748

In celebration of the worldwide Youth Paddle Days scheduled for May 16-19, 2014, Big Winds will be offering complimentary youth introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding lessons on Sunday, May 18th, 2014 from 1-4 PM at the Big Winds Event Site Center.

Big Winds will be offering complimentary introduction to Stand Up Paddle Boarding lessons on Sunday, May 18th from 1-4 PM at the Big Winds Event Site Center. These free lessons are paddle-days1-300available to youths 7 to 14 years of age. Children must know how to swim and parents must be present during entire lesson. Big Winds will be providing complimentary wetsuits and PFDs for all children who participate. The Big Winds Junior Elite Team (JET) will also be onsite helping with lessons. Big Winds will also be offering discounted Stand Up Paddle Boarding rentals for parents who bring their children to this event.

Call us at 888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086 to reserve a spot!

paddle-days2-748

Fiona Wylde: 2014 Overall Surftech Shootout Women’s Champion

Big Winds team rider Fiona Wylde brought us up-to-date on her latest exploits:

It Wasn’t A Win Without A Fight

Every contest has a different aspect; a different way of achieving an outcome; a different way of ending a contest. Sometimes I end contests earlier than I want to by not making it through a heat or placing as high in a race, but never am I going to give up and stop pushing my abilities to the highest place they can go on that day of competition.

fiona-cruz2I was invited to the Surftech Shootout back in January to surf the prestigious wave at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California. My Quatro teammate, Bernd Roediger flew in from Maui to meet me and my dad who drove down from Hood River, Oregon. With the van packed with multiple surf and race boards we were ready for whatever the conditions gave us over the weekend.

As most of you know, Santa Cruz is a surfing Mecca where much of surfing innovation began. Twenty-eight years ago the Santa Cruz Kayak Fest, now Paddle Fest, was created. Over the last couple years the Paddle Fest organizers have opened up the event to include stand up paddlers, which we are extremely grateful for.

fiona-cruz4The contest began on Friday, the 28th, with preliminary stand up surfing heats. Both Bernd and I surfed smart heats, catching head high set waves at the Point and riding them through to Indicators, which granted us wins. On Saturday we raced in the six-mile elite stand up race, leaving from Cowells Beach. I had a good start and lead the women and hung with Bernd until the first buoy, which was a mile into the race. Then Morgan Hoesterey, an extremely strong, incredible paddler came up and passed me. I did my best to hang with her, but she pulled away. Windy, choppy water and beach runs made the race more fun and interesting for all the competitors. I maintained second place, finishing fifty-nine minutes after I started. Bernd finished middle of the fleet, which is really good for the guys division considering he hasn’t raced in a flat-water race in over two years.

fiona-cruz1That afternoon the south wind kicked up even more and the waves were pretty small. I was a little skeptical paddling out to my second heat that afternoon, but my mood changed as soon as the horn sounded. Fun-size waves were coming through and it was way better than I imagined. I won that heat to secure my spot in the final. Bernd did the same with his quarterfinal heat and we were both looking forward to surfing the next day.

fiona-cruz3True to the swell forecast, Sunday delivered. We arrived at The Lane to eight foot, glassy faces, and were happier than two kids in a candy shop; only the candy was the waves. Bernd got to surf his semifinal heat in the glassy conditions where he put on a clinic. By the time the women’s final came around later that afternoon, the wind had picked up a bit, but the sets were bigger! I took my 7’8″ Quatro Step-up gun, rather than my shortboard, for stability in the wind and to get into the waves easier. I was frothing! Sitting in the channel I couldn’t wait to get my heat underway. The horn sounded to end the heat before me, so I had one minute to get in position. As soon as I was at the peak where the waves had consistently been breaking, a massive set came through that peaked way outside. I started paddling frantically. I thought that maybe by the time I got to the first one the heat would be underway, but I was four seconds too early. It would have been a late drop either way, so I paddled over and was confronted with an even bigger wave. Scratching to get over it in time, I rejected that opportunity when it peaked up even more and broke on my head. I had no option but to dive as deep as I could under the wave. As soon as I dove, I felt a pull then a release… my leash had broken. As soon I popped up, I signaled and yelled for the Jet Ski. They came in, pulled me up on the sled and drove me into the break to look for my board. For those that aren’t familiar with Steamer Lane, the “beach” consists of rocks and cliff. I did not want my board to get destroyed, and I still wanted to surf this heat. We drove through Indicators, just in time to see a California State Lifeguard pop over a wave paddling my board to safety. It was like a miracle! He handed me the board and an extremely generous water safety patrol surfer from the Santa Cruz Lifeguard took his leash off of his foot and gave it to me. I was ready for action! By the time I made it back out to the peak, I only had twelve minutes left. The heats were nineteen minutes, and since this was part of a kayak competition, they counted three waves instead of the normal two. I got lucky and a good set came through and I picked one off. Four minutes later I was back at the peak, ready for another. I caught another set wave and was making my way back out when another big set came through that broke way outside. Since I didn’t have much time left and I still needed another wave, I decided to go for it. I picked the second wave of the set and took off right as it broke. I made the drop, but when the whitewater exploded, I got worked. No sets came through in the last two minutes. The horn blew, and my contest was over.

I didn’t know if my two waves and drop were enough for me to take the win. The other girls caught plenty of waves from start to finish and were shredding! What I was happy about was that given the scenario, I did the most that I could to surf my best and make and use the twelve minutes to my full potential.

Bernd’s final followed shortly after mine. Sitting on the cliff, watching him, I felt like I was watching an ASP Professional Surfer that somehow got a paddle stuck in his hand. Bernd caught four waves in his heat, but he didn’t catch just four waves, he caught the best four waves. There were no doubts in our mind, and pretty much everybody’s on the cliff, that Bernd had won and owned the final.

fiona-cruz5My worries ceased when the announcer welcomed me to the stage to congratulate me for my Sup surfing Women’s Surftech Shootout victory! And my happiness went through the roof when they announced me as the 2014 Overall Surftech Shootout Women’s Champion from my race and surf result! With Bernd winning the men’s overall sup surfing, me winning the women’s and the women’s overall Surftech Shootout, it was an all around Quatro victory!

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the help of Jackson, the California State Lifeguard who jumped off the rocks to save my board and the water safety surfer for giving me his leash along with the Jet Ski Patrol. You guys made it possible for me to surf the rest of the heat! A big thank you goes to Duke Brower at Surftech and the Santa Cruz Paddle Fest for incorporating Stand Ups into your event. And of course thank you to Rahel, Lexi, Jessie, and Buck of the Lyons family for hosting us and making us feel at home! To all of the surfers of Santa Cruz thank you for graciously sharing your wave and allowing stand up paddlers and kayakers to surf Steamer Lane for the weekend.

This event comes to a close on a high note. With both Bernd and me winning, both on Quatro, both loving our boards and enjoying Santa Cruz, we will always remember this event with positive memories. Not all events end this way, so when they do, we need to remember them and enjoy this moment! Cheers to fun times!

~Fiona

Fiona Wylde: Big Winds Team Rider Rocks at Turtle Bay

Superstar waterwoman and Big Winds Team Rider, Fiona Wylde, brought us up-to-date on her competition in Hawaii:

Heading over to Oahu last week, I didn’t have any expectations. Yes, I wanted to make it through a couple heats, and yes I wanted to perform at my best. If I did that, I knew would be surfing to my best ability and enjoying it.

Fiona at Turtle Bay
The Women’s Pro Stand Up World Tour had its first stop at the infamous Turtle Bay Resort. Twenty-Four girls filled out the heats to create a solid bracket for the women’s comp. The conditions were tough on the first day, with lots of wind and some good size waves coming in that broke outside and mush-burgered to the inside. I caught enough waves and completed enough turns to secure a second place position to advance straight to the third round.
On the second day of the contest, blue skies and clean waves showed promise for an all time afternoon of competition. After making it through round three, I started my quarterfinal heat off with a solid 6-point ride and was looking for a second. Just a minute later I caught another wave in that range and was feeling good. Towards the end of the heat, the sets became farther apart and I got a bit frantic. There weren’t any good waves to better my early high scores, so I had to hope that the first two waves were enough. When the heat came to an end, I had a feeling I might have made it through, and did so with second place. Next up were the Semis. By mid-afternoon the forecast had been proven correct… the swell was building. At Turtle Bay, the big sets break outside the bay on the outer reef and wash through the bay. It makes it harder to catch the inside reform as well as the outside because it has already broken once. My strategy was to wait patiently on the outside and catch the set waves and only the set waves. I did this and caught three contestable waves, but my turns were not as critical as I was planning. I was a bit conservative in the semi final, because I was so worried about staying on my board, which was a mistake. I have learned now that during a competition, I have to give it %110 all the time and every turn, and just go for it!  And that way, even if I don’t make, I was trying. I am not disappointed with my results because a fifth place finish for my first world tour event is pretty good, but I did learn a lot and am looking forward to competing again.

Fiona at Turtle Bay
Fortunately I will have the opportunity real soon. I am en-route to the Dominican Republic as I write this for a contest called Master of the Ocean. This contest is a windsurf, kite surf, stand up surf and surf contest where I will be competing in all the disciplines. Wish me luck!
Cheers!

~Fiona

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