Category Archives: Gear

Meet the pros/Movie Premiere

Meet the Pros at Big Winds, and Movie Premiere at Big Horse Brew Pub!

Free beer served at the shop from 5:30 to 7, then the party moves to Big Horse Brew Pub for food and beer, with movie premiere at 9 o’clock.

We are offering a 2 hr., in store only, deal on all in stock Cabrinha kite gear (kites and boards) from 5 o’clock to 7 o’clock.  Biggest savings of the year!







New in The Gorge – LP Foil Boards

LP-Foils-Spring2015 from LP Foils on Vimeo.

Big Winds is in its second year getting involved with kite hydrofoils, and is happy to announce a retail partnership with local manufacturer LP Composites! LP has come up with a product that has tested extremely well for durability, handling, stiffness and speed. They have just released a very light weight product called the FRS Series Kite Foil, available in two mounting systems (Deep Tuttle, and 4 Hole Plate), and two different strut lengths, 39” and 35”. I’ve had the opportunity to now test the 4 hole plate on my Lift board, with a 39” strut, and first impression was that this was a high performance product…fast, maneuverable, and light! The LP is so stiff, there is absolutely no vibration. I hit my first ever roll tack, as it pivots effortlessly! The Gorge can serve up some pretty harsh conditions, and this foil can handle it! I look forward to testing this foil more, with the 3 different shims that come with it to allow for more or less angle on the rear wing. We are stoked support the first manufactured foil here in the Gorge, and can’t wait to see the products to come (including the windsurf foil!).

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Sailworks 2015 Revolution

IMG_1010This year’s Revos sure look different. But are they better? Staffer Eddy Patricelli spent two weeks riding a quiver of Revos in 12-40 mph winds. Here’s his take. To test ride one for yourself, hop over to Big Winds. Up to $100 in demos can be applied to a sail’s purchase.


Photo by Katie Crafts

What I Like 

Planing Power: The Revos have it. Period. Prior to this photo being taken, I hadn’t planed much on the 5.7 model. When my son hopped aboard I backed off the downhaul and outhaul slightly, connected my boom to the clew’s upper grommet and shazam! Off we went, full plane. My son’s added 35 pounds be damned.

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 4.52.19 PM

2015 Revolutions are available in 3.0-6.2 sizes and start at $564. Recommended mast: NoLimitz Sumo RDM.

Control: Over two weeks of testing I have yet to re-rig. A 4.5 in 35 mph winds — I hung on. A 5.0 in 13-20 mph — I planed throughout. From a tractor-like pull, to a soft, supple power sensation, the Revos’ adjustable power profile has kept me sailing, and smiling. I can share these sails with my wife without either of us feeling compromised. A big deal.

Speed: I welcome drag races riding the Revos. I can’t say the same for other wave sails. Coast through lulls, loft higher jumps, blast upwind — the Revo’s slippery nature opens big doors.

What I Don’t Like
The sail’s foot outline is fuller than most wave sails. It adds to the sail’s impressive speed and power. The rub is that it’s cumbersome for spinny freestyle tricks.

Bottom Line: No surprise, I dig the Revos. This wave sail line hasn’t lost sight of the bump and jump sailing most of us do. They’re speedy, powerful, and exciting to ride. That’s a great foundation for any session, waves or not. It’s also why these new Revos will comprise the bulk of our demo sail fleet this summer at Big Winds. Try one for yourself here!

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Naish Starship 100

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 6.00.37 PM
Fresh out of the box, this 100-liter model from Naish looked fast, felt light and begged for a ride. So we gave it one … in virtually no wind. That wasn’t our plan. But nor was what happened when we hit the water.

No-Wind Tester: Eddy Patricelli, 185 lbs., 22 years on the water, former board test editor for WindSurfing magazine.

10 – Planing: Most kiters had headed in. Remnant blasts of a 10-20 mph wind day had all but IMG_0929vanished. But I hit the water anyway. Lucked out on a gust, linked it to another, and planed across the river. A total fluke. So I thought. I planed back across again … and again … and so on.

9 – Riding:  This board wants to go. Period. It’s ridiculously fast to plane, and ridiculously fast. Its speed adds coasting power to connect the gusts in big ways. The board comes with a real deal, MFC 32 cm, G-10 FreeWave fin, which adds to the lively, responsive ride.

Screen Shot 2015-06-05 at 5.56.41 PM

100-liters (90-liter pictured), 240 cm X 62.3 cm, 17.5 lbs. w/  straps and fin, $1,929

8 – Turning: I had a hard time assessing jibing. I was dumbfounded to even be planing at all. On a 5.3 Force 5 (review to come), the board kept pace with riders on 7.5-meter sails and 130-plus liter boards. Planing jibes? It turned great. As in, far better than the big boards most were jibing on that day.

9 – Overall Impression: The board wowed me. It offers simple, straight-ahead fun with phenomenal horsepower. Hang on. Hustle for the straps, and from there, try to find the Starship’s top speed. I didn’t, but had a blast trying. So will just about anyone — especially since the Starship comes in 90-, 100- and 115-liter models. My advice: try one (demos here).    

Best Suits: Thrill seekers, dragsters, and gear minimalists. This board’s planing power drops wind minimums, and prioritizes what sailors want most — fast, no-hassle fun.

Score: 36/40


Firewire’s New Modern Planing Hull Kiteboards – Vader & Vanguard


Benefits of the Shape:

These boards give you the following benefitsSuperior upwind capability – The MPH design is a planing hull, designed to create more lift than a standard direction board which technically function as a displacement hull similar to a boat that sits down into the water. The MPH planing hull provides a ride that feels like your gliding as the board continually wants to accelerate giving the experience of forward drive which is being produced by this hull design. This forward drive translates to getting you upwind much easier than traditional boards which is beneficial for all riders, but particularly great for larger riders who used to have to sit on the sidelines on light wind days. Even in flat water riders enjoy how easy it is to get upwind and the board outline is great for practicing transitions, tricks and airs on this board.High Performance ride – These are high performance boards ridden by some of the top surfers in the world. You get the exact same shape with the Kiteboard build of the Vanguard or Vader so you know it will carve and turn incredibly well.Predictable stability – The Vanguard has proven to be a very versatile board. The parallel outline from nose to tail provides more overall surface area and make it a very stable platform. You will feel asmoother ride through the chop and inadvertent weight shifts won’t send you toppling off the board like a standard surf shape. This makes learning on a Vanguard a snap! We recommend the Vanguard for beginner and intermediate riders or people who are new to strapless. But don’t worry, it will absolutely keep up as you progress and advance.Durability – The MPH boards are made from our Future Shapes Technology (FST) that offers superior durability yet is still very light. You will get years of use out of the FST construction, much more so than a standard polyurethane board.Environmentally conscious – Did you know that every FireWire board is Eco certified by Sustainable FireWire is committed to making the most environmentally friendly board on the market with new building materials such as Entropy bio-resin and Paulownia wood deck skins featured in our TimberTek models. 

Rider suggestions regarding board setup:

The parallel outline of the MPH design places more rail line in the water than traditional shapes. This means the there’s similar amount of rail in the water at any given time on a much smaller overall board size. We use 185lb/84kg as a general guideline for sizing the Vanguard. For larger riders over 185lb/84kg the 5’6” or 5’4” is recommended and for medium/smaller riders under the 185lb/84kg mark, the 5’2” or 5’0” is suggested. Of course wind and other factors can be taken into consideration. More wind look towards the shorter side, less wind the longer side. The Vader is intended to be ridden 1”2” or 2cm-5cm shorter than your preferred Vanguard size.

Small miracles  The parallel rail outline and MPH design allows you to ride a very small board size. Don’t be intimidated by the smaller sized models. We have a lot of customers that won’t believe they can kite a board as small as the Vanguard and will purchase a 5’6” only to come back and buy a 5’2”. Smaller in this case can be better. You can get a skateboard feel with tons of control. Felix and some of our other riders report that they ride 5’2” in triple overhead surf with no problem. In fact the board feels more stable in large surf than a traditional 6’+ board! And don’t forget, the Vader should be ridden even smaller and will get you the same dependable hold in any type of surf.

V vs.V  Vader vs. Vanguard Comparison – At first glance these boards look very similar with the tail the only noticeable difference from afar. Our endless hours of testing these two models revealed that the Vanguard is really stable and works well for the beginner/intermediate kiter. While the Vader is pure adrenaline and caters well to the intermediate/advanced riders. The reason behind this is the Vader has a bit more tail and entry rocker which translates to tighter, quicker turns. In comparison, the Vanguard will tend to draw out these same turns making it feel stable and slightly more predictable. The Vader’s bottom has deep channels allowing it to hold and grip on big turns so again, it can be ridden even smaller than the Vanguard. Both boards will want to drive forward and race quickly down the line but the Vader will offer a bit more vertical attack and tighter carves. Either board will allow you to experience the fluid feel of the latest planning hull designs and get you back upwind instantly!

Traction pad placement  The rear foot placement should be very far back towards the tail. When using a tail pad we recommend that you position the back edge of the pad approximately 1” or 2cm in front of the deck plug. These boards ride really well when even weight is provided on both feet. Or for an immediate rapid turning response, weight you rear foot further back on the board.  Big Winds offers front pads if you choose to go pad vs. wax.

Fin suggestions –  Big Winds has stocked the Vanguards in the past with Futures Fins, and have found success with the following Thrusters from Futures:  John John & F4 Tech Flex.  Quad Sets:  F4 Quad and V2 Rasta Quad.  5-Fin:  Mulcoy.  This summer we had FireWire build our Vanguards with FCS II’s, and the Performer Thrusters in PC or Neo Glass are our go-to!  Sold as a thruster, with optional Quad rears, check out the FCS II Performer Fins.  Have a look at our fin options here:

Big Winds Kiteboarding Fins

For any other questions regarding FireWire kite surfboards, feel free to give us a call at Big Winds 1-888-509-4210, or come by the shop to take a FireWire kite surfboard for demo!

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Free Stand Up Demo

Test the newest race and tour boards in Hood River this weekend!


No registration required.
Just show up!

When: Sunday, 4/19, 1-3pm
Where: Hood River, Event Site

Will will have various performance paddles for you to try as well as some, if not all, of the following boards:

TR-12’6 x 29

TR-12’6 x 27
TR-T 14′
TR -X 14′
TR- 11’6″ 

X-Pro 14′


Elite Tour 12’6
All-Star 12’6 x 24

Elite Tour 11’6
Javelin 14′ X 26 LE


Downwind 14’
Contender 12’6
Appleby Race 12’6

Glide 12’6 x 30 GS


New FCS II Fins

FCS Fins are now utilizing a tool-less click-in system…FCS II. Big Winds is stocking FCS II for kite, SUP, and windsurf boards. T.J. runs through the thruster, quad rear, and new center fin Connect click in system. No more need for tools, set screws, tabs nor screws!

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031


Review: Paddle Grip Wax

Highly experienced Big Winds paddlers weigh in on the virtues of Grip Wax from Element Expeditions.

Steve Gates:

In putting together my kit for the Molokai to Oahu Race (M2O) this past summer, one of the first things that went into the bag was a tube of the Warm Grip Wax from Element Expeditions. I made sure my Team’s paddles were all appropriately waxed. I know from experience it helps in relieving the grip tension on the shaft, so it’s especially effective in long distances races like the M2O.

Grip Wax at M2O

Matt Morrow:

I just returned from three days on SUP surfing on the Oregon Coast. It was my first time paddling using gloves and I was worried the gloves would cause my forearms to fatigue. I happened to borrow a paddle for the trip that was freshly waxed up with Element Expeditions Grip Wax and I was blown away. The wax allowed me to use a MUCH gripwax-cold-ssofter grip, and I experienced less forearm fatigue in 3mm Gloves using Grip Wax than when I am paddling with bare hands and no wax. I think the Grip Wax works exceptionally well with gloves as the wax allows the gloves to almost stick to the paddle shaft like glue and therefor your hand can be relaxed on the shaft. There was no residue on the gloves after paddling, probably less wear and tear actually as I was not gripping so hard. I certainly was able to stay out longer, catch more waves and have more fun because of the grip wax, it was amazing. Furthermore, in 3 days of getting pounded by Oregon Coast surf, I never lost my paddle once and believe the Grip Wax played a big role in this. I will be recommending it highly.

T.J. Gulizia:

I’ve been using the Paddle Grip Wax for awhile now, and honestly, feel it a necessity for all types of paddling. During the summer months, I swear by the Anti-Sweat wax. A little of this stuff goes a long way, and lasts awhile before needing to reapply. It goes on as a very thin, clean layer, doesn’t sluff off or clump up, and doesn’t attract sand. If my hands are wet or get sweaty, the wax comes into play so I don’t have to apply the gorilla grip which means less fatigue and fewer blisters. For surf and whitewater, the Cold Water Wax is the ticket, especially when wearing gloves. A finger tip grip is so much more relaxing than a tight grip and the blood flow into my hands allows for better circulation and a warmer feel in frigid waters. Great product, all natural, and inexpensive.

Grip Wax on the Oregon Coast

And, straight from founder Seann Feldmann:

Our story is quite simple. Years ago, my co-founder, Frank Frankovitch and I were attending MooseFest Whitewater Festival near Old Forge, NY in the heart of the Adirondacks. As Frank and I were preparing our boats for launch, I noticed a fellow paddler applying a brand name surf wax onto his paddle shaft. As a surfer and a paddler I thought it was curious that he was applying a top coat surf wax directly onto the paddle shaft. I wondered if there were any alternatives on the market and when I returned home my search came up empty. So, I decided to make my own and started experimenting in my garage.

Knowing that most surf waxes require a base coat and are notoriously messy, I set out to solve two problems. The first being to create a non-petroleum based sport grip that could be directly applied to the paddle without the need of a base wax. The second, was to create a delivery system that reduced the mess involved when applying wax. Countless formulas and delivery systems later, I came up with a 100% organic formula that could be stored in a twist-up recyclable tube. Frank and I attended many paddling events and would hand it out to our friends for feedback. We listened to comments, then tweaked the packaging, made revisions to the formula, and finally expanded the line to include a grip for every season and paddle sport. The rest is, as they say, history.

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Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031