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!
Over the past two weeks we have had the opportunity to try the Vanguard 5’0 and 5’2 FST, as well as the Hellfire 5’6 TimberTek. Testing has taken place in a wide range of conditions, including light wind and high wind, Gorge flat water and swell and overhead ocean surf. The testing has gone great and we are pleased to introduce the Firewire lineup now available at Big Winds.
The Vanguard is a complete redesign on the modern surfboard. Other brands have copied its innovative design, but there is nothing like the original. The shape was designed around modern freestyle surfing, which transfers seamlessly over to kiteboarding. The short shape is suited very well for Gorge swell riding and strapless jumping (this board does not have foot strap inserts), while the sustained width and dynamic bottom contour make the board have the stability and ease of planning of a board 8-10″ larger. All in all, it is a very efficient design that makes landing the latest strapless tricks a breeze. Its easy planing and stability also make it a great option for a wide range of abilities. While the board maintains much of its width from nose to tail, it is not super wide (17.5″ on the 5’2 and 17″ for the 5’0), meaning it is still very responsive from rail to rail. After comparing the 5’0 and the 5’2, I would recommend a 5’2 for most mid-sized folks looking for a great strapless board for both inland waters and small to medium sized ocean waves. The 5’0 is a great option for smaller riders, or as a Gorge, high-wind specific slayer. Larger sizes (5’4 and 5’6) will be available soon and should be more suited for larger folks, lighter winds and medium plus surf.
The Hellfire is a performance hybrid. What this means is that the outline, length to width ratio and rocker profile blend elements of modern high performance surfboards with a more user friendly “hybrid” or fish style shape. The goal of this shape is to blend top end performance with ease of use. The Hellfire dialed this. The Hellfire 5’6 TimberTek was ridden in overhead surf at the Florence south jetty in gusty six meter conditions. Our first impression pulling it out of the box was “damn, this is a beautiful board!” The Hellfire is not just pretty to look at, but a real pleasure to ride as well. The board was very stable at 19″ wide, but the diamond tail and step down tail rail reduce volume and make the tail plenty loose for easy, controlled turns. A deep double concave created plenty of drive while charging down the line. The mellow entry rocker is still enough to let you get very vertical, while not compromising control and speed. All in all, a very well balanced board that will excel in small to larger surf and good swell days as well.
Both boards come deck only, meaning you will need to purchase pads, foot straps (for the Hellfire FST only) and fins. The boards both have a 5-fin box configuration, so you can choose if you would like to ride them as a thruster or a quad. We have found both boards work great as either a thruster or quad set up, so it really comes down to personal preference in that department.
Come check the boards out at our shop, or on our website. We have the Vanguard 5’0 and the Hellfire 5’6 available to demo now as well, so come try one out today!
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.
I 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.
The 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.
That 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.
True 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.
My 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!
This past weekend was a great opportunity to try out a new harness product, the greatly improved 2014 Dakine Maniac sliding spreader bar. The 2014 Pyro Maniac waist harness comes complete with the Maniac spreader bar or you can purchase the bar alone in either 10″ (with 8″ of travel) or 12″ (with 10″ of travel) for $60. This spreader bar allows for more freedom of movement, most noticeable when riding toeside on a directional or twin-tip. The Maniac spreader bar will work great for those needing this freedom, especially when riding with a seat or shorts harness. It also works great with the grippy waist harnesses.
After your first use, you should tighten the webbing as it will loosen up once it gets wet and stretches. This adjustment is done easily behind the bar itself. If the webbing ever needs replacing, Dakine offers the webbing to be purchased for only $7.
We had a nice light westerly wind here in Hood River last weekend allowing for a perfect time to test the 2014 Cabrinha Contra 17m kite. The average wind was right around 12 mph, gusting to 15, lulls below 10. The Contra is a 3 strut kite, available in two sizes, 15m and 17m. The 2014 Overdrive Bar it is flown with is a 57-65cm adjustable control system, and the 17m test was flown on the 65cm setting.
After watching the only other guy on the water come in on a 13m, having difficulties staying up wind, I launched the 17m and felt the immediate power this canopy provides. Within the first down stroke, I was moving, reaching forward to pull depower in the trim strap. The Contra is fast turning for its size, playful, easy to maneuver and quick to down loop. It may fit the freeride/freestyle category best — not a race kite — but a playful park and ride kite. There is plenty of power in this 17m. For that size canopy, it has a feather light feel due to the reduced diameter struts and light weight bladders.
Here in Hood River, it’s not essential to have a kite this big. The 15m Contra would be about as big as we need to go. For those outside of the Gorge, though, the Contra 17m is a great choice to get off the beach and out on the water. Coupled with a directional board, or light wind twin-tip, the Contra 17m will get you up and moving in the least amount of wind providing a fun filled session. If you’re taking a vacation to a lighter wind area of the world, the Contra 17m packs down small and light (15 lbs w/ bar and bag), offering a great guarantee to be on the water when many may be watching from the beach. It’s like buying wind insurance! Feel free to give us a call any time with questions regarding the 2014 Cabrinha Contra: 888-509-4210.
OK, let’s face it, some of the strapless airs we see kiters doing these days are mind boggling, as if they are attached to the board with Velcro. Well, there is a product out there that may come close: Sticky Bumps PUNT Wax. We love punt wax here in the Gorge and at Big Winds we simply can’t keep it in stock during the summer months. If you have ever waxed your kitesurf stick, you may already know the pros and cons. The cons are pretty simple: time consuming, messy, and, well, messy. But, if you know how to use the PUNT Wax, you will find the pros on the first punt!
We recommend not using PUNT Wax alone, use it sparingly on a primary coat of base wax. Rough up the base wax with a surf wax comb, and then apply the Punt Wax over the base coat. If you have pads on your board, you can apply the PUNT Wax directly onto the pad, but again, use it sparingly, as the wax can make for a messy disaster. With kiteboarding comes wind and with wind comes blowing sand. I’ve always taken my board to the water before applying the PUNT Wax on top of the base coat. This prevents any sand from adhering to the board and messing up your traction. After applying the PUNT wax, I keep it in a ziplock bag and put it in my board shorts. Within a half hour of booting strapless airs, you may find the PUNT Wax smears off to the edges of your board, and it may be time to reapply.
After a session of punting like Ian Alldridge, Patrick Rebstock or local favorites Matt Elsasser and Randy Orzeck, get used to packing your PUNT Wax away from the heat. Do not keep wax in your gear bag, nor on your car seat or dashboard. Use your PUNT Wax carefully and sparingly, and learn to love it like we do!
A new product made in Oregon with 100% natural ingredients has been recently introduced to us at Big Winds. Paddle Grip Wax is an essential addition to prevent the slip we get from water and sweat on the paddle shaft and handle. The rationale? It combats fatigue and reduces paddle rotation and hand displacement.
After trying Paddle Grip Wax for the first time, I’m hooked. It is now difficult to paddle without this wax. We offer it in three different formulas: Cold Water (below 64 degrees), Warm Water (above 64 degrees) and SUP Anti-Sweat (All-Temp/All Purpose). Not only does a little go a long way, but a light coating goes on clean and doesn’t attract debris. Another thing I noticed was the reduction in hand blisters. So, avoid paddle slippage and skin maceration, and get some paddle grip wax today!
You’ve just spent your last paycheck on your dream SUP. It’s worth spending a few extra dollars and a little time to prevent any damage to the rails. At Big Winds, we use Railsaver on all of our high-end race and surf SUP boards since the rails are typically the part of the board that gets hammered over time by your paddle. The rail tape is easy to install, doesn’t yellow over time and will certainly help the resale value of the board.
We sell Railsaver in kits or by bulk. The kits we offer from Railsaver PRO come in clear or striped and are by far the best quality rail tape we have found. Railsaver PRO comes in two 6’3″ x 2.5″ lengths and retails for $59.99 for the clear and $65.00 for the striped.
We also offer bulk Railsaver Pro in two widths: 2″ wide ($2.88/ft.) and 3″ wide ($4.32/ft). This rail tape is made by PukaPatch, and goes on smooth and clear. We have a formula that helps customers pick their length: 1/2 the length of your board per side. So, with a 14′ race board that has a moderate thickness, the 3″ wide tape at two 7′ lengths is optimal. For an 8′ surf SUP, all you need is the 2″ wide at two 4′ lengths. When we apply the rail tape, we start towards the nose of the board, and begin adhering where your maximum reach is. This will give you a bit of distance beyond your feet, in the case of a not so perfect exit of the blade at your toes.
Please give us a call to order yours today or place your order online.