Category Archives: Stand Up Paddling

2014 Starboard Air Born 7’10 x 31.5″

We’ve now had the opportunity to give the 2014 Starboard Air Born a run for its money, and the consensus is in: this board RIPS!

At sub-100 liters, it doesn’t have the float that a traditional SUP Surf shape may have, but this is all part of the evolution. We have riders from 160 to 190 pounds riding the 7’10 x 31.5″ and so far, the performance on the wave outshines the difficulties of paddling it out in less than calm conditions. With your feet basically in the water, staying in a semi-aggressive surf stance is a must and weighting down one rail with a little extra back foot pressure alleviates the wobble one might get when paddling in a side by side stance. The Air Born is designed for smaller, mushy waves, and makes less than ideal conditions fun to surf.

Starboard Air Born 7'10 at Big WindsThe first thing we noticed on the wave is that the Air Born is fast, especially for a wider outline. The 5-fin box option allows one to set it up thruster or quad, and when set up quad, the board flies! The acceleration is so much quicker than any other 30+ wide board we’ve ridden.

For maneuverability, once on the wave we noticed the board very playful for its width. Don’t let the 31.5″ get in the way of making the decision to pull the trigger on this board, it’s as playful as most sub 30″ wide boards we’ve tested.

The Air Born in brushed carbon construction comes in at only 13 pounds, super light weight, making the swing weight feel like a standard surfboard. No deck pad included, but we find it plenty grippy with the Startouch texture (and a little wax if needed), keeping it ultra light.

These boards go unchanged for 2015 in shape, and with 2014 coming to an end, we are offering our last Air Born 7’10” x 31.5″ brushed carbon boards at a steal! Give us a call here at Big Winds for your best price on one of our favorite little rippers!

–TJ
Click to go to bigwinds.com

 

 

 

Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210

www.bigwinds.com

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 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

Big Winds SUP Yoga

sup-yoga2-300
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.

 

 

 

 


Class Schedule:Big Winds SUP Yoga

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:

  • Monday and Wednesday: 5:00PM
  • Friday and Sunday: 10:00AM

All classes will meet at the Big Winds Event Site Beach Center.

Classes begin Friday, July 4th, 2014


BIg Winds SUP YogaClass Fees:

  • Drop-in:
    • $15 (must bring your own board and paddle)
    • $30 includes “yoga friendly” SUP board and paddle rental
  • 5 Time Pass:
    • $65 (must bring your own board and paddle)
    • $125 includes “yoga friendly” SUP board and paddle rental

How to Sign Up:

  • At the Big Winds Event Site Beach Center
  • Call Big Winds Rentals and Lessons Department at 541-386-6086

Meet Our Big Winds SUP Yoga Instructor:

Big Winds SUP Yoga

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.


Questions?

SUP Downwind Safety Guidelines

SUP Downwinding Safety Guidelines

Steve Gates

(with help from my friends)

Big Winds

2014

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.

Big Winds Downwinder

Big Winds Downwinder

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.

downwinder8853p

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.tours-viento-2

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!

Mitchell Point

Heading to Mitchell Point on the way to Hood River.

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.

east-dw-12

Finishing up the Blalock run.

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.

PFDs. Know how to use your PFD, and if it’s inflatable, try it out. You don’t want to learn about problems in the middle Swell City.downwind-clinics-300

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.

steve-dw

The author riding the river swell.

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.

Have a bailout plan. Make sure the less skilled paddlers are aware of what to do (get to your knees) or where to go (next to the Oregon shore) if they are struggling in the swells and current.

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.

jun3-12

The Hatchery.

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.

SUP: Premier Eastern Gorge Downwinder

blalock1exit129The 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

Blalock paddling out

Paddling out. Click to enlarge.

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.

Blalock downwinder

Click to enlarge.

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.

Blalock run: paddling in

Click to enlarge.

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.