207 Front Street
Hood River, OR 97031
No sign-ups necessary. Just meet us down there at 10 and take them out for a spin! Hope to see you there!
207 Front Street
Hood River, OR 97031
This 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!
Attendees 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!
207 Front Street
Hood River, OR 97031
Using the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge as a backdrop we will be practicing gentle vinyasa style yoga designed to support your mind, body and soul wherever your Gorge day may take you. Whether you are new to standup paddle boarding or to yoga, we will start off slow and work our way into an asana class that will fill your heart. For our more advanced paddlers and Yogis, options will be given to further your practice. This class is designed for all skill levels.
Join us for a 45 minute Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga session followed by a 30 minute group paddle. Classes are offered on the following dates and times:
All classes will meet at the Big Winds Event Site Beach Center.
Classes begin Friday, July 4th, 2014
Rayna Morton, RYT 200, moved to the Gorge five years ago from California in search of the perfect place to be an outdoor parent and she hit the jackpot when she found Hood River. Through the SUP ladies nights put on by Daryl at Big Winds, she fell in love with Stand Up Paddleboarding. On most decent days you will find her down at the basin doing yoga on her board and heading out into the Columbia. As a Jaya Yoga trained and registered Yoga instructor who specializes in outdoor yoga, she is passionate about sharing an authentic yoga practice that is safe, sustainable, therapeutic and that resonates from the heart. Her classes are designed to support your mind, body and soul, wherever your Gorge Life takes you.
SUP Downwinding Safety Guidelines
(with help from my friends)
Here in the Gorge, and elsewhere, SUP downwinding is on fire. Everyone wants to go. On a warm, sunny day in a 15-20 mph breeze, it’s a walk in the park for most skilled paddlers. On a 25-35 mph cranker with a ton of current, huge swells and cold water, it’s a whole different ball game. We’ve had both types of experiences and everything in between in the Gorge, on Maui, and the Oregon coast and have had a pile of truly memorable runs. However, we have also had scary things happen, hence this list of guidelines for downwinding in the Gorge (that you can apply anywhere) to help us all get home safely.
Assess the conditions. If it’s not safe don’t go. It may be safe for some and not for others, or you. Remember that the conditions change fast, and vary as you travel along — particularly on the river. Your friends might look out for you, but it’s a big place. You have to know that you’ll be able to handle everything you encounter, by yourself.
Comply with the law. When in the Gorge (or elsewhere in Oregon), Oregon law states must have a PFD, a whistle and an Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) permit. You may not agree with this, but the Marine Sheriff won’t care. The fines are stiff. Attach your whistle on the strap of your hydration pack so you can access it quickly and easily in case of an emergency. In other areas, be sure to know local laws.
Hydrate. The Viento Run can take an experienced, strong paddler almost two hours when the current is ripping. You most assuredly will become dehydrated without water. Wear a hydration pack. You won’t regret it. For any outing over an hour, I suggest hydration.
Wear appropriate rubber. Assume you will break down, or someone else will and you’ll be in the water for some time. You can become hypothermic, even in relatively mild temperatures, so wear a wetsuit and accessories if needed.
Wear a BRIGHT rash guard or jersey! It’s hard to see you out there!
Use leashes. When the current is strong and the wind is pushing your board upriver your board zooms away from you. You almost certainly can’t catch it by swimming after it. Make sure you have a STRONG leash! Make sure your leash tether is super strong and knotted so it will NOT come undone. Consider adding a second tether tied loosely, so if the first fails the second keeps you attached. If you fall in and your leash gets tangled, Do NOT take your leash off! Bad things will happen. This is the voice of experience talking.
Booties. Everyone hates booties till something weird happens and you are halfway between Viento and Hood River and you have to climb up the rip rap, through the blackberries, hauling your fourteen footer onto I-84. Booties look pretty good then.
Helmets. Everyone hates helmets, too. However, when it’s blowing 25+ knots, a fourteen foot SUP becomes a lethal weapon in the air. I just barely missed being getting clobbered by one while in the middle of Malaaea Bay on a 30-40+ day. Getting knocked out by a flying board will most certainly ruin your day. On really windy days, a brain bucket is recommended.
Cell phone. Someone in the group should have a waterproof cell phone. An emergency is just that.
Look out for each other! This trumps all else. If you blast off and are a few hundred yards away, you may not see your paddling partner in distress, or be able to get there quickly to render aid. Establish a plan in advance on who’s looking out for whom; determine who’s paddling sweep.
Be aware of changing conditions. Is the wind increasing or dying? Is the current ripping or mellow? Ask someone in the know if you don’t. Allow plenty of time to complete the run before darkness sets in.
Consider other players. Swell City and the Hatchery on windy days are high performance, crowded windsurfing and kiteboarding spots. Taking your SUP through there on a Sunday afternoon with 300 people ripping along at 30 mph ninety degrees to your path is asking for trouble. They probably won’t even see you before they take you completely out. If you want to ride big swells at the Hatch on your SUP, get out during dawn patrol.
Have fun, and be careful. The Columbia is an amazing resource for downwinding. Let’s keep it safe and sane. It’s challenging enough without adding unnecessary risks.
The Blalock Canyon to Arlington downwind run is the premier eastern Gorge downwinder. When the conditions set up for a run out east, this is the one to do. It’s a spectacular ten mile run through a very wide open stretch of the Columbia, with a long fetch and no canyon walls to disrupt the wind. When the wind is on out east, the swells are big and smooth and there’s less cross chop than in the central and western Gorge.
Here’s the setup. Take the Blalock Canyon exit (129) and go under I-84 towards the river. When you get to the railroad tracks, turn right and go down to the little old boat ramp. Put in there
and paddle east in the little lagoon till you come to the culvert that goes under the railroad tracks. Paddle through that and voila! you are in the Columbia and if it’s cranking, you are in for a heck of a ride.
The takeout is not very straight forward the first time you do it. Arlington (on the Oregon side) is about ten miles up river and is visible by the grain silos. There is a rock jetty sticking out into the river and if it’s really windy, there will be waves breaking into it, throwing huge spray and looking a little intimidating.
You need to paddle around the jetty and then hook a hard right into the entrance to the lagoon. Continue paddling east, go right under the railroad tracks and then up to a nice lawn area at the Arlington beach park.
Pat yourself on your back and high five your buddies. Hopefully you just had an epic eastern Gorge downwinder. Want more? Call us at 888-509-4210, visit us in Hood River at 207 Front St. or drop by online at www.bigwinds.com.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is now one of the most popular watersports in the Gorge. What we love about SUP is that just about anyone can do it! And depending on your athletic ability, the sport has a variety of challenge levels. Big Winds has been active in paddling for over five years, and this fun sport has created a completely new way to get you out on the water. It has also opened up a whole new level of performance to the athletes in the area, so encourage your friends and family to get out there!
Big Winds’ instructors can teach basic and advanced Stand Up moves, including a variety of forward, backward and turning strokes to increase your maneuverability. You’ll also learn safety, proper paddle usage and board maneuvers including those speedy buoy turns the racers use.
You can find more information on our SUP Lessons page on our main website.
First-timers can benefit from our Intro to SUP class, and beginner/intermediates will take it further in our SUP Express. Private SUP Lessons are also available. Our Downwind Prep Class, Downwind SUP Clinics, or SUP Sailing classes will safely get paddlers into more high-performance Stand Up experiences.
Big Winds offers the area’s widest selection of SUP rental equipment at our Event Site Beach Center (open 10-6 daily). This equipment is available on a “first come / first served” policy. We also have two options for multipass rentals where you can save up to 20%.
Whether buying, renting or learning, Big Winds has all of your SUP needs covered. Call us, visit us online or stop by our shop at 207 Front St., Hood River. We hope to see you on the water soon!
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 available 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!
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 should be a winning shape for 2014.
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
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 relatively light for a non-carbon board. The 27″ wide comes in at 28 pounds and the 29.5″ wide comes in at 29 pounds. They are quite the value at only $1899 and worth every penny for the fun factor they provide. Come by the shop and check out the new 2014 Imagine Connector, or head down to the Big Winds Beach Center at the Event Site to sign up for a test drive!