COLUMBIA RIVER PLAYGROUND
If you like to paddle, kite, mountain bike, windsurf, hike, raft, fish, ski or do pretty much any outdoor activity, then you need to visit Hood River, Oregon. This is the second year I have come to Hood River for the Naish Paddle Challenge. There is so much to do and see in this beautiful area known as the Columbia River Gorge. Check out my video below for all the fun and excitement the Gorge has to offer.
The racing was tough with the deepest field of competitors of any race besides the Battle of the Paddle.The first day was the course race in breezy conditions. After a lot of bumping and solid racing I was able to finish 3rd behind Kai Lenny and Jamie Mitchell. These guys are arguably two of the best young watermen in the world so I was happy to be in their company. The second day was the 8-mile downwind race in 25-30 mph winds. For the 2nd year in a row I was the first U.S. ‘mainlander’ to finish the race. I ended up in 10th place behind a strong field of Hawaiians and one 10 X Molokai paddle board champion. You can paddle as fast and hard as you want but you won’t win the race if you do not have the downwind technique and equipment. I feel comfortable and fast in downwinders but the Hawaiians are on another level when it comes to using each and every tiny bump to it’s fullest. Practicing in the consistent winds of Maui will be a good excuse for me to spend some time in the islands next year!
Now it’s time to head home and dodge some tropical weather as I train for the Battle of the Paddle at the end of September.