Category Archives: Windsurfing

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




Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031

888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086

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!


Big Winds

207 Front Street

Hood River, OR 97031



Big Winds Windsurfing Lessons, Clinics and Camps

Big Winds offers “Summer School”

We are proud and honored that Big Winds has ranked as a top windsurfing school (if not “the” top school) in the Gorge for over 25 years. We have teaching windsurfing down to a science, and in 2014 we have a menu of lessons, camps, and clinics for every level of student. We continue to get stoked when the wind picks up and we’re enthusiastic to share our expertise in getting people out and having fun on the water.

Big Winds windsurfing lessons

Big Winds windsurfing lessons.

Here’s a snapshot of our Windsurfing School line-up:

Full lesson descriptions and dates for Windsurf Lessons are available on our website.
To summarize, we offer Three-Day Introductory Lessons, a Learn to Windsurf Package, Intermediate and Advanced lessons. We have two Women’s Clinics scheduled for July 12-13 and August 2-3, and our ever-popular Kids Camps run Monday through Thursday throughout the season. We also have six weeks of Advanced Junior Camps.

Big Winds Women's Clinics

Big Winds Women’s Clinics. Click to enlarge.

Beginner lessons are held at our Adventure Center inside the Hook, which provides a sheltered, safe environment for learning. Intermediate lessons are usually at the Event Site Center and Advanced Lessons will take place where the wind and swell are optimal.

Online signups are available for Kids Camps and the Advanced Junior Camps. Give us a call (888-509-4210) or shoot us an email to discuss further or to sign up for any lesson option. In the meantime, enjoy this short clip about windsurfing lessons…



If you are visiting without your gear, don’t have equipment or want to try something new, Big Winds offers a huge fleet of rental gear. Beginner equipment is available at the Hook and Intermediate/Advanced equipment can be rented at our Event Site Center (open 10-6 daily) or at our shop at 207 Front Street in Hood River. More information can be found on our main website.

Let us help guide you to the best lesson, camp or clinic for you and your family. We hope to see you out on the water soon!

Big Winds Kids Camps

Big Winds Kids Camps

Mark’s Sneak Preview of Naish Windsurf Gear

Fall in The Gorge continues to deliver a mix of west and east wind, in combination with some really beautiful, sunny weather. I have recently had a chance to sample the new 2014 Naish Starship 90 liter board with a 2014 Naish Vibe 5.0 sail on several occasions.

2014 Naish Starship

2014 Naish Starship

The Starship is Naish’s latest “Bump ‘n’ Jump / Onshore Wave” model that boldly picks up where the previous Koncept, Global, and Global Wave models left off. In west winds ranging from approximately 16-23 mph at the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery, the Starship has proven to be an awesome ride, blending quick planing response, a fast, lively and smooth feel underfoot, with confidence inspiring jibing character. The deck pads and footstraps also stand out as being exceptionally comfortable.

2014 Naish Vibe

2014 Naish Vibe

The combination of the new Vibe 5.0 and a Naish RDM 90 400cm mast felt perfectly balanced and totally predictable in its handling and maneuvering. The sail has a very light, crisp feel, and is forgiving in both bumpy conditions and when exiting jibes and maneuvers.

My overall impression is that this board and sail combination deliver solid performance and value for anyone looking for high quality, beautifully finished gear that will handle a wide variety of wind and water conditions with ease and style.

Hangin’ with Heidi


Legendary Big Winds instructor, Heidi Chappel, will be at Rowena, Saturday, July 27th. She will be leading a short rigging clinic at 11:30 and then will be available for one or two hour private lessons from noon to 5PM. This event is wind dependent and will be called on or off that morning. You are encouraged to call ahead to book a lesson, but walk-ins will be accepted if space allows. The cost for a private lesson is $99 for one hour and $179 for two hours. Gear is not included but check with our rentals department for availability. Payments and waivers can be handled at Rowena.

Call our Lessons and Rentals Department at 888-509-4210 or 541-386-6086 to sign up.

Women's Clinics

Heidi will also be putting on one of her classic Women’s Clinics, August 10-11, 2013. The details are on our website.


Children of the Wind

COTW posert

At Andrew’s Pizza Skylight Theater, July 18th, 7:30PM.

Children of the Wind tells the story of two brothers and a cousin who journey from poor fishing families on a tiny Caribbean island to become three of the best freestyle windsurfers in history.

Children of the WindThis event is being handled by Please help spread the word. 55 tickets must be sold by July 11th for the movie to be shown.

Don’t worry! If the threshold isn’t reached, the event will be called off and no one will be charged for their ticket purchase.

Here’s where to order.

Children of the WindSet against the backdrop of the 2011 Windsurfing World Cup on Bonaire, the film follows the boys over 15 years as they transform not only their island but the face of the sport worldwide.

Children of the WindThe film focuses on brothers Tonky and Taty Frans and their cousin Kiri who come from a poor fishing family and began windsurfing before the age of ten, using whatever broken or discarded equipment they could scrounge, and who are now, twenty years later, global superstars.

Children of the WindTonky, Taty and Kiri burst onto the international scene in 2001 when, along with thirty or so other Bonaire sailors, they attended windsurfing’s North American Championship in Florida. Given the island’s economic status, just getting to Florida was an achievement in itself. Once there, they caused a sensation, taking home twenty trophies between them. Given that Bonaire has a population of under 15,000 and had, at the time, no way to fund formal training facilities, provide equipment or pay for travel to events, this accomplishment was simply astonishing.

Children of the WindThe Frans brothers and Kiri are now among the top five freestyle windsurfers in the world and have become local heroes on their island. More remarkable: Bonaire continues to produce young champions at every age category of the ProKids World Championship, which started on the island. Set against the backdrop of the 2011 Freestyle Windsurfing World Cup on Bonaire, Children of the Wind is an exciting tale of kids who refused to be defined by the limits of their circumstance, and consequently transformed a sport.


The Conversion Epidemic

Facing down fears and peers, Matt Luchsinger (AKA Suds), world renown kiteboarder, has taken on the challenge of,


wait for it,





Big Winds’ teacher extraordinaire, Ondine, took a deep breath and the task of doing the unthinkable.


Suds: “You want me to do what?”

Ondine: “You want me to do what?”


“This is nuts.”


“Aircraft Carrier. Can’t be that hard.”



So easy, I can do it with my eyes closed.


Oh, ya. In your face. What’s next?


Suds before the Ondine treatment.


Suds after the Ondine treatment.

Big Winds: Aiding cross-overs since 1987.

2012 Big Winds Big Events

Here’s a calendar of upcoming Big Winds events:

May 5 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 6 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 13 Mothers’ Day FREE SUP DEMOS for Moms at BW Beach Center 10-4

May 19, 20, 21 Victoria Day Weekend
May 26, 27, 28 Memorial Day Weekend

June 9 An Evening with Gerry Lopez at Big Winds 5-7 pm

June 12 Ladies SUPper Club Kickoff Party at Big Winds 6-8pm

June 19 Ladies SUPper Club first night BW Beach Center 5-7 pm

June 30 Naish/ Big Winds Kite Demo at the Event Site
with the Naish Pro Team

July 7, 8 Windfest

July 7, 8 Gorge Blow Out
July 23-27 US National Windsurfing Championships, Event Site

August 18, 19 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge